Easter Sunday

An Easter tradition we had when the girls were young was Saltwater Sandals in their Easter baskets. My girls actually hated them for years…so I did different things. THEN THIS YEAR! They all ASKED for them! Two of them even wore them that day with their Easter dresses. Now I am wondering what other things they might learn to love as they get older-

  • tomatoes?
  • mushrooms?
  • cleaning their rooms?
  • sushi (one of them does like sushi, and tomatoes actually too :))
  • running?

egg hunt

On Saturday Dede and I talked over the phone, debating whether or not to do an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. Now that the youngest between us is 12 (Sophie) we thought they were probably over it, they were getting enough…and we were feeling lazy. We showed up to Nana’s house for Sunday dinner and she excitedly told us she had eggs to hide. Danny and my mom went right out and hid them before we ate. They all loved it. Dede and I decided we wouldn’t be slackers next year. I was inside doing the dishes and saw Dede taking a photo of everyone, so I grabbed one from the back through the kitchen window. We are never too old for family traditions.


There is always some apprehension for Ellie leading up to a dance…but she has come home so happy every time. Going with her friend Caden this year was no exception. He is such a nice young man. They went with their group to Top Golf the night before and watched movies later. Saturday they met at the Salt Lake Country Club and asked me to take their photos. I am always so grateful for the opportunity, it is a huge perk of being a “camera-lady!”

Ellie, Caden, Cami, Camden, Maddie, Daniel, Shaylee & Isaac

a glass of brushes

50mm | f2.0 | 1/160 | iso800

My Saturday morning began in the kitchen for a glass of water. On the window cil, I saw this glass with Kate’s makeup brushes inside. It is prom day for Ellie. Ellie didn’t want to spend money on having her makeup done professionally. Kate, who is the makeup enthusiast in our house, sweetly (and excitedly!) offered to do it for her. Ellie agreed-and Kate was thrilled. The night before the big day, she washed all of her makeup brushes. It was really a sweet gesture, wanting to have things just right for her big sister. My heart melted when I saw them there waiting for these two sisters. My heart also melted to see how beautiful and happy Ellie was for prom. Her beauty was enhanced by her makeup…but was truly lit by her sweetness toward Kate.

50mm | f2.0 | 1/250 | iso320


Kate and I on our lunch date yesterday…me learning how to post a selfie on VSCO

Sometime last year, I overheard some teenage girls talking. There was a get together planned that night. A group of friends (boys and girls) would be watching a movie at one of their homes. A few of the kids liked each other. One of the girls was unsure about the attention she knew one of the boys wanted to show her. (Could I word anything more awkwardly!? Uggg) Anyway- the girls had arranged that as friends they would sit next to each other to thwart off any unwanted advances. It wasn’t my place in this situation-but I wanted to say SPEAK UP! Make your voices heard! What you want (or don’t want!) matters! Speak your mind.

This experience has given me food for thought as a parent of three teenage daughters. Am I being an example of speaking my mind? Do I allow myself, and my thoughts to BE SEEN! I know some of the most amazing women. Some of my dearest friends are some of the greatest examples I have known throughout my whole life. They are following passions, creating art, running businesses, serving their families and communities…even outside their communities. They completely inspire me. But the lives they live are not shown on social media. They are not glamorized on any media platform…

Why as women, do we hold back? Some of us live small. (me) We are comfortable behind the scenes. We are killing it behind the scenes, by the way. And service definitely doesn’t have to be shouted from the rooftops. But maybe if we allowed ourselves to be seen, AND that we ourselves completely saw:

  • our own potential
  • our own dreams
  • our own gifts

-and shared them with others to inspire them, maybe those girls would find their voices and make their true feelings heard and SEEN.

Easter dress…

135mm | f2.5 | 1/4000 | iso320

On our trip to Las Vegas for spring break, we did a little shopping. We found this dress for Ellie at Urban Outfitters. We both loved it and thought it would be a good excuse to do a photoshoot together. Ellie liked the idea of green backdrop (we can’t wait for spring…or summer for that matter!) so we went to one of our favorite spots, Tunnel Springs Park in North Salt Lake. When we first began going there, we were alone except for the dog walkers and mountain bikers. Now I see photographers there most of the time. Can you blame them? It is pretty magical.

lensbaby | 1/5000 | iso320
50mm | f1.6 | 1/1600 | iso100
50mm | f1.2 | 1/3200 | iso100
50mm | f2.0 | 1/1250 | iso100

I have been buying Easter dresses for my girls since Ellie was a tiny baby. It is even more fun now, because they like to shop for them. Kate and Sophie have one two…two more excuses to take their photos 🙂

lifeguard on duty

photo taken October 29, 2017 in California

Do you feel like a lifeguard as a parent? There is such a fine balance between trust|openness|limitations|independence when parenting teens. There isn’t an exact science. I know many parents would say that we are too strict and others would say we are too lax. Lately Danny, the girls and I feel like we have come a long way and are making progress. We have had some inspiration that has helped us recently. I thought I would share some of them here and would love to know what is helping you at your house.

FAMILY SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDE by Anna Macfarlane was a great conversation vehicle for us. It really helped us see that we aren’t maybe as far apart as we thought we were on the ideas around social media. I especially loved that the lessons had questions for the teens to ask the parents along with questions for parents to ask teens. It is great.

THE SELF DRIVEN CHILD: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives. I don’t have a straight A student in my home. And I wasn’t a straight A student either. We have had a few years of focusing that way, and truly they weren’t good for any of us. This book opened my eyes to a different perspective and tools that not only help us survive when things aren’t going well, but change our environment here to help us thrive. I think it might be my very favorite parenting book that I have read.

SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. This book helped me see the need for more movement and exercise in our family. I was drawn to this book because of issues I was seeing in focus, grades, and confidence in my girls that can be brutal in upper elementary-high school. We have made changes. Ellie bought and pays for a gym membership, Kate is competing on the high school lacrosse team, Sophie is in competitive tumbling, I increased my yoga attendance and just began running again (Danny has always been great in this area!). I do love music and lessons, but the more I learn about the correlation of exercise and mental/emotional wellness, the greater pull I feel towards athletics. Had I known then what I know now, I would have made the sports we tried when they were young a greater priority.

I am grateful for THIS article. The parents desire to make all of us more aware allowed for a great discussion at our house that I hope will remain open and continue.

KNOW HOW MOM: I signed up for her parenting prompts that I enjoyed. We also bought her Buddy Quest books for my girls. Several times on her IG account I have stopped, so grateful for the perspective she offers.

THIS talk this weekend was one of my very favorites. It touched my heart has a parent.

I have mentioned both of these before, but the podcasts from Brooke Castillo and Jody Moore have really helped me put parenting in perspective. I have learned to see the root of many of my anxieties as a parent. Analyzing my thoughts and separating their choices and decisions from who I am as a person has allowed for a greater love and respect between us. I am so grateful for all that I have, and will continue to learn from them.

Monthly dates: In our regular living, I definitely have time one on one with each of my girls. Along with that, there is something greater about scheduling something and making time for it each month. I meet my girls for lunch (generally take them out) during the school day every month. They LOVE being checked out. We work hard to get them back before the bell rings for their next class. They choose where we eat, and I LOVE sitting across from them to hear all about what is going on that week in their lives. It is one of my favorite things about my month. I think I initially got that idea from 71Toes (I have learned a lot from her as well.)

How are you balancing the lifeguard duties in your home? I would love to know any tips or resources that have helped your family. We are making progress…and have plenty of room for improvement!