Category Archives: Family

Hannah’s Maternity Shoot for Baby #2

Do you remember about two and 1/2 years ago when I posted Shae’s and Hannah’s engagement pics? (That would be my bro and his wife, if you’re new-ish here).

Well, I must have done something right enough to earn a repeat (I strongly suspect the fact that I’m family and charge, well, nothing were the biggest factors, but I’ll happily delude myself that it was due to some merit) because I had the privilege of snapping some maternity shots for their super-cute family a couple of days ago.

And I say, “family,” because exactly 9 months to the day from their marriage date, Hannah gave birth to my cutie-pie niece, Halleli. #honeymoonbaby

And now, she’s expecting Halelli’s sure-to-be-equally-cute baby sister, Eliyana, any day. (Not that you’d be able to tell because she’s just the tiniest pregnant woman you ever did see).

Speaking of Halleli, I do believe that she has the baby smolder mastered.



She’s a thinker, this little girl, and it’s not that easy to wrangle a smile out of her (although Shaun has always been able to get one with almost zero effort; she has good taste), but when you look this good serious–really–what’s the point in wasting all of that effort smiling?

She’s awfully stinkin’ cute when she does smile, though (thank you, husband, for playing peekaboo like a fool behind me pretty much the whole time I snapped pictures).


Go ahead and feel disgusted that Hannah looks this good 39 weeks pregnant. I’m right there with you.


Oh, how I love tiny baby booties!


And sweet sisters.


If you’re not a professional photographer (raises hand high), I’ve got a tip for you: take your pictures in a peach orchard at sunset. Then, everybody will be too focused on all of the prettiness around to care whether the shot is perfectly clear. If the peach orchard belongs to your neighbor, and you can tramp over from your own property, all the better.



“Halleli, where is Eliyana?” Girlfriend knows what’s up. Or…down, in this case.



Happy girls are the prettiest!


I have to laugh at these pictures in our field, which looks a bit scrubby and unkempt until the evening sun is sparkling down on the each green blade of grass, and you plop a couple or three cute humans in the middle of it. Then, it’s all CHARMING! and PRETTY!


This one was a Pinterest recreation. I’m sure not going to show you the original for comparison, but I still think it turned out fun.


And this version was my idea. Because the husband kissing the belly is, like, the most original thing ev-ah, Abbie.

Either way, it’s pretty sweet in b+w too.


And this one, here, is pretty much modern day reality: daddy wrangling the toddler while mama looks up the pose she wants on Pinterest. How did we ever take family photos without it?


And just in case you’re sick of sun flare…


It was so much fun to take pictures of three of my favorite people in the world and made me even more excited to get to meet a fourth!


Hannah brought us dinner…because she’s super-thoughtful like that. And, since I had already decided before I started Whole30 that I would make exceptions for hospitality, I got to eat ravioli and cookies! Woo!

So, what do you think? Didn’t they they turn out cute? Sometimes, I start to get super-critical of my limited photog skills, but then, I remind myself that it’s not about the perfect bokeh or the just-right angle.

Hannah will always treasure these memories, captured when they were just three (on the outside anyway). And I will always treasure getting to be the one to capture them.

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Helping Hands

Okay, so confession: I was sorely tempted to label this post, “I Heart Child Labor”…or something equally tacky. But, as much as I’m fine with people being mad at me over important stuff, I figured I’d better not waste my goodwill on a bad joke.

ANYhoo, about a year ago, I posted a picture to Instagram of Ezra and Simon folding clothes with a caption to the effect of: “I think the single most helpful household chore I’ve taught my boys to do is sorting, folding, and putting away all of the laundry. What do your kids do that is most helpful to you?”

Some people actually answered the question, but most listed ALL of the things that their kids do.   kidschores3

{If you’re impressed that I was brave enough to let boys clean my beloved lights, .02 seconds later, Simon was demoted to cabinet washing. He tried, but 7 1/2-year-olds really aren’t cut out for careful glass handling}

And I’m not going to lie: I found myself fighting the urge to be like, “Wait, I didn’t say that’s ALL my kids do. They do other things too! We’re not limited to laundry, darn it!”

But that was just my pride talking, and once it simmered down, I really enjoyed reading the lists of tasks that other people have trained their children to do. Most were similar to what we do at our house. But I definitely had a few, “Aha! Brilliant!” moments.

So, in the interest of sharing and answering one of the most commonly asked questions that I get, I thought I’d tell you what my kids actually do around our house.

Please, as always, understand that I’m not thinking that this should be any kind of “guide” for anyone’s life but my own or that your kids should do the same things or in the same way (just in case you, like me, struggle with prideful comparison sometimes).

I just know that I am always encouraged and challenged when I hear about new ways to teach my children responsibility, independence, and servant-heartedness, so if anything I share can help someone…well, yippee!

I’m going to share our actual chore process (along with a fun, free printable!) next week (hopefully), but for now, I’m just going to list the tasks for which my children are responsible.


{Clearly Nola has discovered the all important truth that silly faces make sweeping so much better}

Simon and Ezra (ages 7 and 9):

Clearing/rinsing the breakfast dishes and loading them in the dishwasher (daily)

Wiping down the breakfast table and sweeping the kitchen floor (daily)

Emptying the trash and installing a new bag (every other day)

Wiping down the fridge/freezer/dishwasher (once a week)

Wiping down kitchen cabinetry (once a week)

Mopping the kitchen floor (once a week)

Picking up and vacuuming the living room (daily)

Cleaning bathrooms: scrubbing bathtubs and toilets, sweeping, and wiping down all surfaces, and emptying trash (once a week).

Sorting, folding, and delivering all clean clothes to their appropriate place/room (approximately 3 times a week)

Putting away their own clothes

Picking up their room (daily)

Cleaning/vacuuming out the van (approximately once every two weeks)

Picking up/vacuuming the “big room” (once every two weeks or so, since we don’t use it for regular play, and they–theoretically–put away what they were playing with as they go)

Helping their younger siblings get dressed (daily)

Getting snacks for themselves and younger siblings when we leave the house (daily)

Helping younger siblings get buckled into the car

Helping with basket-pushing/grocery-shopping

*Occasional extras: helping me weed, wash the car, wash windows/mirrors, dusting, sweeping the porch/patio, etc.


{Yup, they even had to do laundry while we were on vacation; because clean clothes do not magically appear while you’re “on holiday” (I so wished we Yanks actually used this phrase)…more’s the pity}

Della (age 4):

Unloading the dishwasher

Wiping down the freezer/fridge/dishwasher

Picking up toys/clutter throughout the house

Helping fold laundry and deliver it to appropriate locations

Helping get snacks

Picking up her own room

Putting her own clothes away

Cleaning out the car

Wiping down kitchen cabinetry

Occasional vacuuming (it’s still a little heavy for her)


{If you’re curious how quickly a bottle of cleaner can disappear…give it to a 2-year-old. The answer: real fast}

Evy and Nola (age 2…almost 3):

Emptying the dishwasher and putting silverware and plastic kids cups away

Throwing away Theo’s diapers/other trash

Picking up toys/clutter around the house

Carrying laundry to appropriate locations

Wiping down kitchen cabinetry

Theo (age 6 1/2 months):

Eating, pooping, sleeping, and smiling

Ha! Couldn’t resist!


It’s possible that I’ve left something out (I honestly expect someone to comment with, “What? Your kids don’t _________??!” And me to slap my forehead and think, “Duh. Of course they do.”)

It’s also possible that I’ve made us sound more impressively organized and clean-obsessed than we really are.

We’re a work in progress. Some days, we hit every item on that day’s list with vigor. Some days, we get home late, go to bed with dishes in the sink, and get up and tackle it again the next day.

But, pretty consistently, the items on the above lists get done with an acceptable level of competence. And if they don’t, they get redone (unless I’m being too lazy to make sure they’re done right…which happens).

I’ve got all of kinds of ways I want to grow in the housekeeping department where my kids are concerned. Cooking classes. More yard upkeep (my nemesis). Better organizational practices (my other nemesis; my brain is organized when it comes to thoughts and tasks but not when it comes to where things should go).

But for now, this division of labor is what keeps us sane and keeps the house–if not visitor-perfect–generally decent at most times.

And now I have to know. What kinds of chores do your kids do? Do you have a system that you swear by? I’m all ears.

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