Behind the Camera and Dreaming

Life Lately and all of the Emotions!

I just need to be really real for a minute. I feel like I've been kind of quiet lately. I have still been posting but not a real - from my heart- lets just chat kind of post and I need it. Over the past two weeks I think I've been through the gamut of every emotion I could possibly have. We took a short trip to the beach Friday-Sunday and I was actually dreading it. I know that's ridiculous because I LOVE the beach, but with such a short trip plus how uncomfortable I am, the number of children that were going with us, my inability to drink alcohol or eat my weight in key lime pie, lack of sleep and things that have been going on with my extended family at home - I just felt like it was going to be an additional stressor when all I want to do is relax. I am so glad that I was so wrong. We arrived fairly early on Friday afternoon, parked and stayed at the condo until Sunday when we packed up and headed home. It was amazing. I'll write more about the trip and our room/stay later, but honestly all six children were really well behaved (including mine - minus a few accidents), it wasn't too terribly hot because it rained, I got to sleep in a bed that was SO comfy and I got to basically do nothing. Thank you family - I love you! Needless to say I feel much better this week.

That was not the case this time last week. Last Wednesday - I sat in my office on the phone with my mom trying so hard not to cry that I completely chocked on my water, made my nose bleed, and rubbed any shred of makeup I had on completely off! For some reason when the third trimester hit two weeks ago, I lost all control of my emotions. That, combined with feeling disappointed and stressed that my husband's bonus check wasn't as much as I thought it would be, meaning things will be even tighter financially while I'm on maternity leave, Jonah has decided that he isn't really potty trained anymore and we are having to take a few steps backwards to get the accidents under control, nor have I made the first stitch in any of the things I want to sew for the new baby's space, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.

Then, two weeks ago today, my grandfather was taken to the hospital with really bad lower back/hip pain. So much so that he could not be moved out of bed. After lots of investigation, they found what we knew could happen but weren't really expecting - the cancer they found years ago in his kidneys has spread to his bones - hips, pelvis, legs and spine. After much debate and discussion, he and my grandmother decided that he would be moved to a hospice facility. He is there now and is finally starting to be recognizable as him self, but we really don't know how much longer he will be here on earth with us. We all love him so much. For the past 31 years, he has been a constant in my life and it's hard to imagine what life will be like without him. In my head, I know he's 86 years old and his body is failing him, which is a part of life, but putting feelings into words, explaining it to Jonah and the possibility of my children not getting to have the memories of him that I have is hard. He's finally at a point where I think I can take Jonah to see him in hospice, but I can't hold it together long enough to explain to him what it means to be sick and not get better. After taking him to the hospital last Sunday, Jonah came home and told his Daddy that Papa Joe was all better. So, pray for me, for my grandfather's comfort and for my family's peace.  Pray that I'll be able to find the words to help my precious boy understand as much as he can. I don't know how much I'll explain now or when the time comes, but I know it'll be hard on my heart.

One thing that I have learned though that even in sadness and hard times, God created us for so much more. Finding the balance in dealing with the hard emotions and celebrating the joyful things in life is hard, but I have a healthy baby boy coming in about ten weeks, we celebrated the marriage of a great friend a week and a half ago, my cousin is getting married in September, and the sky is fully blue and the sun is shining today! Life is really good and God's timing is always perfect.

Celebrate Photography Giveaway! {Over $650 in Prizes}

Wow! Wow! Wow! We have made it over half way through the year of our Catch the Moment 365 Project! On Saturday, we celebrated our 200th photo! What an accomplishment. I am super proud of myself and our group that is still hanging in there! I'm going to stop using exclamation marks now. . . but this giveaway Y'ALL. I cannot believe how awesome it is. Over $650 in prizes! Sarah, Mindi, Alisha, and I sought out these great items to bring you the best of the best when it comes to photography accessories.  Each prize will help you enjoy your camera, photos, and advance the styling of your photos for well over 365. I cannot even pick my favorite, but really wish I could win these amazing items! If you are interested in joining our 365 group check out the details start here.

Now, I just want to thank each of our sponsors and encourage you to check out each and every one of them! Then don't forget to enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter below! Here are your great prizes!

THEITThe Lula Bag
THEIT creates camera bags for photographers that value both style and substance. With designs that aim to capture classic modernity with a sense of playfulness, this philosophy exemplifies the essence of the THEIT customer: someone who is independent, inspired, and full of life, who cannot help but to capture the beauty in her world through the lens. An homage to the well-known fashion term "the it" bag, the brand represents more than the most coveted piece for the season, but a new wave of design enabling style, function and versatility for the fashion-minded photographer. Inspired by the runway and the streets, THEIT's vision is to uphold a fashion standard that helps photographers live their dreams in style.

Canvas on Demand16x20 Canvas PLUS free shipping

Capture your favorite moments in pictures and create spectacular wall art for your home. With Canvas On Demand, your treasured memories suddenly transform into smile-coaxing masterpieces…that you can appreciate every day, large as life, in beautiful canvas form.

Professor Kobre's Lightscoop

Ken is the inventor of Professor Kobré’s Lightscoop®, a camera accessory that instantly and dramatically improves indoor photography by bouncing the light from the pop-up flash. Bouncing the flash eliminates red eye, unflattering shadows and that deer-in-headlights look so common with indoor flash photography.

Picture KeeperPicture Keeper PK16

We have developed a simple photo backup solution that we made easy enough for our moms to do without needing our help. We load our Picture Keeper software onto custom USB drives - simply plug it in and click "Start Backup" to get started finding and savings your digital photos. Picture Keeper software works on PC and Mac and can be used on multiple computers - also great for moving pictures to a new computer. When one Picture Keeper fills up, just plug another one in and it picks up where the last left off. Did we mention that we skip duplicate photos also?

Camera CoatsA Camera Coat of your choice!

Protect your camera with a padded, waterproof, stylish Camera Coat! Our recently patented design keeps your camera safe whether its around your neck, in your carry-on, or stuffed into your diaper bag! All of our products are made by local women & each item is packaged and shipped by adults with disabilities.


-Strong Velcro closure to ensure a snug fit.

-Sturdy buckle attaches directly to your camera straps so you won't lose your Camera Coat while you shoot!
-3 pockets on the back are perfect for your lens cap or extra SD card.

Camera Coats come in 5 sizes along with matching camera straps! With over 20 styles to choose from you are sure to find one that your camera will love!

Shop today and get 30% off your order!

Code: Celebrate25

Expires: July 31, 2014
Ink and Elm Backdrops: 5ft x 5ft Backdrop of Winner's Choice

As photography junkies, we found that there were a few aspects of photography that were toilsome to control; location, lighting, and weather. After many exhausting photo sessions, we decided to come up with a way that would enable us to have direct control over lighting, weather, and location! And so, Ink and Elm Backdrops was born, bringing the location, controlled lighting, and perfect weather into your home! Ink and Elm backdrops are extremely user friendly and can be set up in minutes! You can go from standing in front of a barn to sitting in front of a beautiful damask patterned wall to leaning against a vintage worn down fence all in one photo session and all under one roof, regardless of weather and lighting! Ink and Elm backdrops are printed on strong, durable, tear resistant vinyl using the longest lasting inks and state of the art technology. Backdrops are printed on matte, waterproof material and are great for cake smashing sessions! The best part? They are easily portable! When you’re done with your photoshoot, simply roll up the backdrop and stick inside the packaging tube they are delivered in for simple and easy storage!

Janie Lane Studio: Camera Strap Cover of Winner's Choice 

I'm a wife and mom to two young boys who absolutely love dirt and trucks and Legos. It makes me so thankful for nap times when I sneak away to my sewing room to design and create bags, scarves and Bloomin' Headwraps. My shop, Janie Lane Studio, has been the feminine and creative outlet I need to balance all the boys in life. I've been making and selling locally for a few years, and this year I've focused on growing my Etsy shop and online presence. A few years ago a photographer friend asked me to make her a camera bag. Designed to be a beautiful and hardworking partner, the "Claire" bag has become a bestseller in my shop, both locally and online. Camera strap covers are a natural addition as I seek to serve photographers. Stop by Janie Lane Studio on Etsy and Facebook or find me @janielanestudio on Instagram. Leave a comment - I'd love to get to know you!

Pop of Happy$25 Shop Credit

Hi, I'm Laura, owner/creator of Pop of Happy. Pop of Happy is an Etsy shop filled with pom garlands, paper garlands, letter banners and fabric garlands perfect for any photography backdrop, birthday party or happy home decor. Pop of Happy also offers paper mobiles and custom designs made just for you! As a mom of two, I understand how busy things can get so let me take care of your birthday, baby shower or nursery decor for you!

Crafty Staci: DSLR Camera Strap and Lens Cap Holder

I've been sewing and crafting for as long as I can remember. My Etsy shop, Crafty Staci, focuses on accessories for photographers and I happily fulfill custom orders for everything I make. I enjoy mixing fabrics, and I love how excited my customers get that they can design an item that reflects their personality. After making thousands of camera straps, lens cap holders, memory card wallets and other photography accessories, it still makes me happy to see the final finished item and to hear my customers talk about how they're using it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Catch the Moment 365 | Week 28

The past week has been a whirlwind of stress, worry, excitement, and I'll admit it lots of tears. Heading into the 3rd Trimester has taken me for a loop. I think I have been having some Braxton Hicks contractions - probably stress and dehydration induced. Those are not fun at all. I have lots of feelings going on and maybe I'll take the time to write them all down but I just haven't been able to find the words. My grandfather went into the hospital last Wednesday and has now been transferred to a hospice facility, so I'd appreciate your prayers for our large close-knit family as we prepare for what is probably the last days of his life. Needless to say with so much going on, I have been totally slacking on my purposeful 365. So, you'll see a lot of iphone photos... BUT since we are at the beach this weekend expect much improvement for next week! There are some great one's here too though. Thanks for being a part of this project with me!

190|365 The dog days of summer.

191|365 Bathtime hair!

192|365 28 weeks last Friday

193|365 We had an exciting night at a good friend's wedding! Jonah survived his first wedding a very small chapel at that! It was a little miserable for mommy and daddy but over all he did great. At the reception he got to dance the night away -which he loved!

194|365 When you just can't find any bobos but your mommy let you pick out band-aids for the first time at walgreens... you just wear them on your shirt!

 195|365 Turning the camera and mommy and Jonah

196|365 Just a quick snap of this boy and what he begs to do lately! Play on Daddy's iPad. He's probably watching Truck Tunes. If you have a boy - download it!

Every Friday Sarah, Mindi, and I will host a place for photographers of all kinds to share, explore, grow and connect. Our common goal: one photo, every day, for three hundred and sixty five days. Whether you are using a fancy smancy professional camera, your first DSLR, a point and shoot, or your ever-so-handy phone camera, we want to see your photos! We want to see the moments you caught each day. How amazing will it be to see each of us accomplish something that seems so big?

For more info on how to join in start here.

Check out this week's featured sponsor:

Summer Fun Giveaway! | $300 in Goodies and Gift Cards!

I mentioned on Facebook last night that I am currently the giveaway queen. I actually have three more coming up in the next two weeks, but I'm pretty darn excited about this one! My friend Alyson M has put together this AWESOME giveaway that I'm now regretting contributing to because I want to win it sooo bad! 

We want to celebrate summer with you, our fabulous readers, and so we put together an adorable summer tote bag full of all kinds of fun things for summer! Gift cards, lotions, nail polish and SO much more! Good luck and I hope that you're all enjoying your summer! 

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Check out everything it includes! 

  • "be awesome" Tote Bag from Bow and Arrow Art
  • Living Magazine
  • $50 Erin Condren Gift Card
  • $25 Starbucks Gift Card
  • $20 Target Gift Card
  • Beach Towel
  • Aveeno Lotion
  • Ultra Glide Ink Pens
  • Katie Daisy Journal
  • Phone/Credit Card Wallet 
  • 2 Shades of Essie Nail Polish
  • Essie No-Chip Top Coat
  • Nail Polish Art Pen
  • 2014-2015 Planner
  • Plastic Reusable Straws
  • Paper Straws
  • Gum
  • Nail File
  • Baby Lips
  • Narwhall Box gift Set from The Gnarly Whale Shop
  • Zipper Pouch & Key Fob from Little Ms.Fancy Pants
  • Steve Madden Aviator Sunglasses
  • Set of Notecards from This Girl Doodles
  • JBL Micro II- Ultra Portable Media Speaker
  • Leather Bow Cuff from Forgotten Cotton

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Thanks again Alyson for putting it all together and the fabulous photos of it all!
Now enter, enter, enter!

Backyard Storytime Campout | Guest Post

I am super excited to have Branson from My Reflection of Something with me today! Branson is a long time blog friend of mine and has inspired me in so many ways! Please, if you don't go follow her journey. I am also super excited about this idea and really want to do this at home. Enjoy!

I am always on the lookout for great ways to have summer fun on a budget. So, when I was thinking about how much my little guy loves both story time and anything camping related right now, I decided that a story time campout would be a great way to surprise him one evening. We were able to set it up in 3 simple steps:
  • First, while he was in the bath, we set up a simple makeshift tent in the yard using some rope tied between two sheets and a flat bedsheet. I then stuck his crib/toddler mattress in there, with some pillows and blankets.
  • Next, I added some of his favorite stuffed animals, and included a citronella “campfire” for ambience (the campfire is his favorite part of any camping experience!).
  •  Finally, I put together a basket with all the necessary elements: lots of library books, a couple little flashlights, and some snacks!

When we told Aiden we were going outside after bath, he was curious. When he saw what we had set up, there was an eruption of happy giggles. Now, I will admit that it was a bit tricky to get my 6’8” husband into the little tent, but once they were settled it was awesome. They read their stories, talked about random daddy-son stuff, the caught some fireflies on their way inside for the evening. What a fun, simple, and FREE way to create summer memories and encourage reading time all at once!

Looking for some great books to include in a storytime campout basket? (Or just to add to your summer reading list?) Here are 5 of our current favorites:
  •      Even Firefighters Hug Their Moms by Christine Kole MacLean  – This book is simply adorable! I love the imagination of the little boy in the story, and how he includes his baby sister, too. This would be a great one to read to inspire some creative play.   
  • Kipper’s Monster by Mick Inkpen – Aiden loves everything Kipper, and this is a great choice for a camping theme.
  •  The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems – Pretty much any book by Mo Willems is a hit in our home! This is the newest in the pigeon series, and is very fun. I also discovered there is a website with some activities for pigeon fans!
  •  I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakité – This was on our Little Passports summer reading list, and Aiden loved it! It inspired his current fascination with everything African!
  •      The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord – This is a classic that my husband loved as a child. Aiden loves to retell the story, and with all the bugs around in the summer it seems fitting!

What books are your favorites for summer story time? 

You can find Branson writing about motherhood, faith, photography, and homeschooling her preschooler at My Reflection of Something Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest 

Stuffing My Front Seat Road Trip Bag using Paperless Coupons

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone. #WalgreensPaperless #CollectiveBias

On Friday we are headed on a little road trip down to the beach for a short little getaway with the family. I am super excited about the trip, mostly because this will be the first time this year I get to put my toes in the sand. While the travel part is exciting (for the first hour anyway) the rest of the trip is spent trying to find ways to occupy myself and Jonah. Wesley always drives. He gets car sick as a passenger - so those duties just automatically go to him. So, as I am riding in the front seat next to him, it's my job to keep myself and the two year old happy! The best way to do that is to be prepared. So, this weekend I headed around the corner to Walgreens (used my Paperless Coupons) and stocked up on some goodies for what I call "Mom's Front Seat Road Trip Bag."

I don't know if my collection is quite complete but here's what I have so far: 
  • Snacks for Jonah - He still loves a good squeeze pack and they are perfect for the car. Pretty much no mess. He also picked some cereal bars and I found a coupon in the Walgreens app for both. Score. I will keep a separate bag of toys and books for him in the backseat - hopefully where he can reach.
  • Snacks for mommy - Trail Mix - it's healthy enough but still satisfies the munchies when you are bored and just need that hand-to-mouth motion while staring at the same stretch of road for two hours.
  • A new book (I've actually had this book a little while and this is perfect time to crack it open!)
  • A current magazine. I did not find a coupon for this in the app, but there was one right on the cover this month. Thanks Real Simple!
  • Lip Balm in a very summery flavor! 
  • Cell phone (I need to add a charger)
  • Wallet with the essentials

Now, let's go back for a second and talk about these paperless coupons. I have been a balance rewards member at Walgreens for a while now. I mean who doesn't like discounts? For us, Walgreens is kind of a go-to when we need a few little things or cosmetics. Our neighborhood grocery is great but usually has limited choices. It's kind of an old school grocery store (it's actually the "Jitney 14" if you've seen/read The Help - it has a different name now - but same old store) and Walgreens is just across the street and we can save time and gas money but staying close to home. I always look for the deals with the card, but now I can do that right on my phone and know what I'm looking for when we go in.

The Paperless Coupons found in the app are manufacturer eCoupons you can clip right to your Balance Rewards account and redeem by just scanning your Balance Rewards Card (via the App on your phone, the actual card or by punching in your phone number). You don't have to take in paper coupons or if you are like me - take in the coupons then forget to give them to the cashier. They are all right there as long as you use your Rewards Card. I don't think it can get much simpler than that. 

While we were there, I went ahead a picked up a few summer essentials we need for our trip and at home and had a coupon for all of them! Yay me!

So, tell me what do you keep in your front seat bag when traveling? I know I'm forgetting something!

Catch the Moment 365 | Week 27

Welcome to week twenty seven of our 365 project. I am striving personally to take more detailed shots theses days. I want to capture the things and people that are filling our summer days. I apparently got a day mixed up last week and skiped a photo. It's all fixed now, but there is an extra photo in last week's post that you may not have seen and you probably saw this week's first photo instead. I should probably not put blog posts together when I'm absolutely deliriously tired. . . but unfortunately there isn't much time these days when I don't feel that way. Hello third trimester. You snuck up on me! 

183|365 Music Man

184|365 I was so inspired by some photos I took of a client recently, I knew I had to capture the super hero in Jonah. Last Thursday I had an awesome session with my nephew and just couldn't let the rest of the sunset go to waste when I got home. I have more in the series coming soon. You can see another on my photography facebook page

185|365 July Fourth - we had a blast. These guys were obviously super sad to see their cousin Connor go home to Colorado. 

186|365 We had an awesome get-together with friends on Saturday night. We made homemade pizza and just hung out. The kids entertained each other and so did the guys. It was great. I do have more pictures and want to blog about it a little more next week. 

187|365 A last hoorah at NaNa's before the Kellum's headed out for Denver. It's so fun to see these four playing on our swing set we played on as kids and loving it! 

 188|365 Ice Chalk is where it's at. I have a contributor post coming up soon on Typically Simple about how we made it! Super easy and fun!

188|365 Tuesday, I got to come home a little early and watch the kiddos while NaNa went to a meeting. What a perfect opportunity to break out the camera for a few snaps of the Ben-Man. He's such a good picture taker these days - I had to post two!

Every Friday Sarah, Mindi, and I will host a place for photographers of all kinds to share, explore, grow and connect. Our common goal: one photo, every day, for three hundred and sixty five days. Whether you are using a fancy smancy professional camera, your first DSLR, a point and shoot, or your ever-so-handy phone camera, we want to see your photos! We want to see the moments you caught each day. How amazing will it be to see each of us accomplish something that seems so big?

For more info on how to join in start here.

Perfectly Ripe Summer Salad Recipe


I don't know about you, but in Summer I feel like my body just screams feed me fresh produce. I always want to go to the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings, but typically don't make it. When we lived in Memphis it was just a walk down the street and I'd wander down there by myself and walk around until I could stand the heat no longer, but now the local one is a little more effort to get to or maybe I'm just lazy. Either way, none of this produce actually came from the Farmers Market, BUT you could probably find a lot of it there this time of year. You can also find it ripe at your local grocery. Which is exactly what I did and since I tend to over buy sometimes on the fresh food, I decided lots of salads were in order to eat it up and fill me up!

This salad combo alone is very filling and I made no special trips for any of the ingredients! I have eaten this salad at least three times over the past two weeks and it was just so pretty I had to photograph it, because that's what any good blogger should do right? 


So here's what's in it. 


  • Spring Mix Greens
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Cheese Cubes (would also be great with Gorgonzola or Feta cheeses)
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette 

The avocado and cheese make this salad filling without adding any meat - although you could top this with grilled chicken or fish and it would be excellent. The tomatoes and strawberries mixed with the balsamic dressing give it a tangy sweetness that is just so summery and refreshing!

What is your favorite summer salad combo?