A love for Coffee

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
My love for a cup of coffee knows no bounds. Tears of sadness and laughter have been shed over coffee dates, I've gathered with women around kitchen tables discussing politics and parenting over a pot of coffee, and relationships have been built and strengthened...all over a shared love for a Cup of Jo. A few weeks ago when I was having a rough day, a friend texted, "I'm bringing you an iced latte" and it was refreshment to my weary soul. Maybe that's a bit dramatic? But five years ago, having just moved to a new city, I didn't have a friend like that. I felt alone and isolated as a parent. Maybe, at least for me, it's a reminder that this journey has been made a little less lonely...and it often started over a cup of coffee. And that's why I love it.  



To see a few more favorites, visit this weeks 52 week Project here. 




The week was great! A lot less stressful than last week. Right now I'm longing to have a big yard for my kids to run around with a lot of open space. They've all been playing somewhat nice lately, but the noise in our small home is loud! Which is normal, and good, and healthy, but I think we'd all have a bit more peace in our house if there was more space for them to run. Either that, or I need to just buy ear plugs.

I posted more photos from this shoot over in this post. I had a lot of favorites this week. 

7 Quick Takes | Mostly Photos

Saturday, July 19, 2014
Linking up with Jen! Go visit her blog for more 7 Quick Takes! 

1.) I went to the dr. today. All my best efforts to treat this painful mastitis infection naturally failed. When I woke up on Thursday morning with body aches, chills, and three children asking for breakfast, I waived my White Flag of Surrender and thought, "I need the drugs!" I loathe taking antibiotics but in the end, they worked and I felt better by the end of the day. And through a friend of a friend, I buy homemade kombucha called "belly-bucha" which has herbs (like red raspberry) added to it for pregnancy. Even though I'm not pregnant, it still helps with the post-partum hormones and all the probiotics are good since I'm on antibiotics for the next 6 days. 

2.) Later that day, I took my two oldest kids out to burn off some of their never-ending energy. We went to our neighborhood park, and while they were out running, it dawned on me that I haven't been with just the two of them since Dominic was born. It was pretty nice to give them all of my attention. They got into a few small arguments, and it was surprisingly nice to help them work through it and make peace. Usually, Dominic demands so much attention that I end up ignoring their arguments and sending them to their rooms if they can't work it out.

3.) And a few photos from that evening....

4.) This HuffPost piece was posted several times on my Facebook feed. It's about an 83 year old photographer who found an old box with the title, "Mother" on it which was filled with images of women with their children from 50 years ago. If you haven't seen it, and love beautiful photojournalistic images of motherhood, you should check it out. The pictures convey the beauty of motherhood in a way that words so often fail.

5.) My daughter recently started taking piano lessons again after a year long break. She loves it so far, and I'm secretly jealous because I wish I could take lessons too. After talking to a few friends who grew up playing the piano, most of them told me that it was a rule in their family that they had to take lessons until they were 18. They said they didn't always like that rule growing up, but now they have a lot of appreciation for it. So I've been pondering this idea and contemplating if it would be a good rule for our family too (Lord willing!). I'm curious if anyone has any experience or thoughts on a rule like this?


6.) 1 week left until the Edel Gathering and this is my last weekend to try and find some crazy shoes! Wish me luck...hopefully with a size 10 shoe, I'll find something extra crazy! 

7.) Since it's almost midnight, and my eyelids are starting to close on me.....I'll just say Goodnight! 


Weekend Recap: A Hike and a Twitching Eye

Thursday, July 17, 2014
We've had a great summer so far, but admittedly, the weekends were starting to feel like a scene out of Groundhogs Day. We needed a break from our regular routine! So we brainstormed a few ideas that were budget and kid friendly and decided a hike sounded like a good idea. I texted a friend to come along and it was a date. Our friends knew more about the local hiking trails than us, so they picked a place, and on Saturday morning we packed up the minivan with 4 kids, 2 sets of parents, and off we went.


One little important fact before moving on with this story...Dominic woke up with a 99ish temperature. He was active and happy, and since he's cutting two molars, I assumed it was either teething or nothing major. I contemplated staying home, but figured I'd either be babywearing him in the house, or I'd wear him on a kid-friendly hike where nature and the other kids would distract him from teething pain. Nature won. I grabbed an unopened bottle of infant advil before we left, just in case.

I didn't quite realize how far we would be traveling and how curvy the roads were until we were well on our way. I noticed Dominic seemed a little "off" but figured he was probably feeling motion sickness, because I most definitely was. When we arrived at our destination, it was everything I was hoping for. The air was rich with the scent of pine, the Sierra Nevada mountains surrounded us, and the sky was a bold shade of blue. Time to start our hike.

We hiked up to Bassi Falls and as soon as we got there, Dominic threw up all over me. His little body felt so hot and he was lethargic. We decided that Ryan would hike/run back to the car with him (it was 1/2 a mile), take his temperature and cool him off. I'd let the kids finish eating their lunches and then we'd follow behind him shortly and head home. I tried to play it cool, but on the inside was really nervous. I had never seen the baby like this before.

  About 15 minutes passes and Ryan texts our friend Chris (a paramedic) the update, "his temp registered at 105." 

"What!" I shouted, followed by a few bad words. I felt like a terrible mother! I should have kept him home!

I realized the unopened bottle of Advil was still in my purse, so Chris offered to run it to Ryan while I gathered up the kids to start heading back. My biggest fear was that he would have a febrile seizure and we were 45 minutes from civilization. I was trying to hurry the kids along, but all I wanted to do was run fast and get to Dominic. I started to cry. My first reaction is to obsessively worry about all the terrible, awful things that could happen. My friend Cat offered to walk all the kids back to the car so that I could go ahead. As I sprinted back to our van, I prayed that he would be ok.

He stopped crying as soon as I arrived and started to perk up a little. His 20lb body was so hot and he was miserable. I patted him with cool water and anxiously waited for the Advil to kick in. Not long after, everyone made it to the van and we headed back to Sacramento. The car ride home was a combination of stressful/funny/exhausting/memorable....not to mention smelly because I didn't have a change of clothes after being puked on. Also on the way home, my eye started twitching. Every 20 minutes, it would twitch.

Dominic went on to have a high fever over the next few days, pooped all over me 3x, and it was eventually determined that he had roseola, a pretty common virus (side story, when we pulled up to the dr.'s office, I went to get the kids out, and discovered Luke forgot to put his shoes on. Awesome. We were already running late and the thought of him running barefoot through a pediatric office was just a little too much for this semi-germaphobe to handle. So I carried his 40lb body on my back (all hail, The Ergo), while carrying Dominic in front through the appointment. It's a lot easier to look back a few days later and laugh....and in general, I hope I look back at so many of these crazy moments and laugh). 

It's three days later, and my eye is still twitching. I know the answer is to go to bed earlier, relax a little more, and Trust God a lot more. A few months ago, I set a timer to go off every day at 3pm, the hour we recognize as the time Jesus was crucified. I set the timer so we would remember to say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. We don't always say it, in fact, most days we don't. But at the very least, it's a good reminder to whisper, "Jesus, I trust in You." I struggle to trust God. It's easier to worry, to think that everything depends on the decisions I make, and my eye twitch, reminds me of that struggle. I'm grateful that God has not asked me to be successful, but rather to be faithful.  I'm also grateful for a husband who is really calm....because someone has to balance us out :) 


That sums up majority of our weekend. We spent a few hours continuing to purge our garage, and then Riley and I ended the weekend by meeting a few friends at the  Carmichael Farmers Market. We tried some Venezuelan food called an Arepa and it was delish...I can't wait to go back next Sunday! 

Here's to hoping this coming weekend is a great one...and a little more calm. 


Monday, July 14, 2014


What a week! Some of the best memories and some not so fun memories were made...but that's life right? 

R: She's been busy playing legos, pictionary, and generally being really helpful. There are still a few things I'd like to do with her this summer (i.e teach her how to make pancakes and cookies, do a few art projects, and finish reading Heidi) and time is flying so I need to make sure to plan appropriately. I took this photo on our hike to Bassi Falls this past weekend

L: I didn't take too many photos of him this past week, but here he is running around Bassi Falls.

D: He had his first real sickness. He's had a few low grade fevers that lasted a day, and a few coughs, but nothing like what he has now. It's been three days of a high fever, vomiting, and our super active baby has been lethargic and restless. He seems to be doing much better today and it's a relief to see him acting more like himself.

7 Quick Takes About Work/Life Balance, Edel, Tomatoes, and Knighthood.

Friday, July 11, 2014
(1) A couple weeks ago I read this interview that Indra K. Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, did with The Business Insider. In it she discusses whether women can "have it all" in regards to the work/life balance. When asked, she says:

            "I don't think women can have it all. I just don't think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. And we have two daughters. And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions. And you have to co-opt a lot of people to help you. We co-opted our families to help us. We plan our lives meticulously so we can be decent parents. But if you ask our daughters, I'm not sure they will say that I've been a good mom. I'm not sure."

Reading this reminded me that I've never officially written anything (publicly) about why I took a break from my photography business. For the record, I have a lot of photographer friends who balance the work/home-life beautifully...I was just not one of them. I didn't have one single "aha" moment; rather, it was a year-long discernment process.

Business was going well and my work was exciting! At this point, I had been in business 6 years and had shot weddings in Mexico, Hawaii, Tahoe, and Napa and photographed many wonderful families. But at home, things were suffering. My husband and children were coming second to my work and our home was a disastrous mess most of the time (well, it's still pretty chaotic but now I have more time to work on it). I'd spend all day editing pictures, answering emails, running business related errands, and I began to notice myself becoming increasingly angry at my kids for interrupting, and the stress of "doing it all" was plain wearing me out. I didn't like who I was and I didn't like viewing my family as "getting in the way" of my productivity. Ryan would come home from work, and every night I'd go to our local coffee shop to work some more. My conscience was telling me something wasn't right with this picture, so I began to pray: "Lord, I love my job, but something isn't right here...what do you want from me, what should I do?" And He made it clear. 

I had this vision of my kids as adults, and their memories of our time together involved me attached to my computer, being angry at them. That was the last thing I wanted! I told Ryan before we were married that I wanted to stay home and raise our children, that I didn't want to work outside the home if we could make it work. We knew that would mean financial sacrifice, but it's what I felt called to do.  When I took a step back and looked at our life, it didn't look anything like I had hoped. We didn't eat dinner together, I was gone on the weekends (although Ryan did shoot quite a few weddings with me which was really fun!), and I was exhausted from staying up all night working and nursing a baby. I needed to get back to the basics! I told myself that once I could manage my responsibilities at home, then I could see about starting to work again. So I removed my website and blog from the internet, and it was official. I was no longer taking on any new work. 

We started eating dinner together and I began to research different ways of efficiently running a household. I think most people learn these basics, but I never did. Most importantly though, I became more intentional with my parenting and could devote more time to my relationship with my husband. It felt like a weight had been lifted and I enjoyed this newfound free time with my family. 

It's been nearly 3 years since I took down my websites and decided to step away from my business. Without a doubt, it was the right decision. I'm still researching efficient ways to run a household, and probably will be as long as we keep adding kids to our family, but I love it!  Can women "have it all"? I don't really know. I think something always has to give. I couldn't do it all, at least not at the same time, but I am ok with that. Raising children is a lot harder than I ever imagined, but for now, home is where I choose to be.

2.) Speaking of Vocation, look what just arrived in the mail! Our parish is planning on adding this new ministry in the fall, and I get a chance to go through it this summer with a group or moms! 

3.) And speaking of photography, I've taken most of my work offline but I still have a few weddings posted at my flickr account. Melissa and Chris' Sonoma wedding was one of my favorites and I have the highlights from their wedding posted here if you'd like to see (and a few below).

4.) My friend Amy and I are leaving for Austin in a couple weeks to go to the Edel Gathering! I'm really nervous and I think the introvert in me is starting to freak out a little. We don't really know anyone else going, and there are a lot of great bloggers/authors that we can't wait to meet! So if anyone who reads this right now is also going to the Edel gathering, hello!! I can't wait to meet! 

5.) I've been searching for a few weeks for a new book to read, sort of hoping that the right book would find me...and I think it did! I was originally planning on reading Sense and Sensibility (I've never actually read it!) but decided based on this post I read today, to read, My Antonia by Willa Cather. The last two books I read were so good and hopefully this one will be too. 

6.) A little update on our garden. First off, no one is more shocked than me that we've been able to keep something alive (other than our kids) for this long! Growing this garden has been so rewarding, I think I'm starting to see why so many people do it. We've had a few ripe tomatoes here and there (we're growing 3 varieties) but the vines are exploding with green ones and I think they'll turn ripe in the next couple of weeks! We also got our red pepper plant to come back to life  after I let some of the tomato vines grow over it for a few weeks. It just needed a little TLC and now it's doing great. And I think another one started to grow next to it? Not sure yet, but a new mysterious plant started growing...stay tuned! 

7.) And lastly, I never got around to posting about Riley's last day of school. Her and her classmates worked all year to practice virtue and to become Knights. At the end of the year they had a Knighthood ceremony where they celebrated all of their accomplishments. She was dubbed "Lady Riley, The Kind Hearted." Here she is with her teachers, Sr. Maria Kolbe and Sr. Maria Rosario. Love those Dominicans! 



Monday, July 7, 2014

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014"

We celebrated the 4th of July this past weekend and another great week went down in the books! We went to a friends house for a summer BBQ and hence, another round of pool photos. Riley gained a lot of confidence in the pool this past weekend which is great since she's been scared to swim for the past couple years. She was doing canon balls off the diving board and is starting to see how fun swimming is! Luke, on the other hand, is still scared to swim. He had a bit of a rough weekend actually. He got poked in the eye with a stick and it ruptured a few of the blood vessels, Dominic bit him and left a welt, he burnt his hand on a sparkler, and then I accidentally gave him a blood blister when I pinched his skin in the snaps of his floaties. As you can see from the photo above however, he's still loving life. 

And lastly, here is D just waking up from a nap...wild hair, and super cuddly!

Ps-I posted a few more pictures from our weekend over in this post. 

Scenes From the Weekend

Holidays, like the 4th of July especially, are good reminders of how fortunate we are to live in such a great community. It's been nearly 5 years since we moved to Sacramento, and it feels like our roots are really beginning to grow deeper. I will probably always have to work on this wandering heart of mine that tries to convince me that "the grass is greener" somewhere else, but the phrase, "bloom where you're planted" is starting to make sense more and more. While discerning God's Will as to where we live will always be a consistent prayer, for the time being, Sacramento is pretty awesome! It's shown us what it means to be part of a strong community, and a place where there are adventures waiting for us everyday. 

I hope you had a great 4th of July and Happy Birthday America! 
*waves my American flag emoticon   

Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design