much to do!

I’m uploading 4 different projects right now, clogging the internets past their capacity. ¬†My to do list is so super long…

I have folders and folders of images to process and upload and get to clients

album designs

magazine spreads

baby pictures

vacation pictures

hamburger pictures

wedding pictures

first day of school pictures

ocarina pictures

family pictures

in other words- I have a lot of beautiful images around me ūüôā ¬†I’m working hard at getting them all out. ¬†I’m hoping that I don’t get overloaded. ¬†I’m stressed out by diabetes. I’m anxious about Brendan’s surgery. And I’m thankful I have a job that I love that I can do with my family surrounding me. ¬†

rant over. back to editing images ūüôā

One Encounter, One Opportunity: Our Visit to the Teahouse Island

I’m kinda obsessed with the Missouri Botanical Garden. ¬†Anytime someone comes to visit I want to take them to my favorite spots in the garden. ¬†I think one of the main reasons that I love it is how it is always the same and constantly changing. For me it’s like walking through memories, especially memories of my kids. I can’t walk through the¬†Climatron¬†without reflecting on this sweet image of baby Brendan


Yesterday we braved the rain for our annual trip to the¬†Japanese Festival.¬†¬†I honestly prefer the garden when there aren’t festivals, when you can sit quietly and enjoy the beauty around you. ¬†But festivals are fun too, and I really enjoy this one. ¬†I think I’ve gone at least three times. ¬†So me and the kids took aunt Susie to her first visit. ¬†When we got to the cashier for our tickets, we quickly checked out the schedule and our helpful ticket-checker-outer let us know that there were still tickets available for the tour of the Secret Teahouse Island. ¬†Brendan was SO pumped about this. ¬†They only sell 20 tickets per hour and you can only buy tickets one hour before the tour. ¬†We were determined to get on that secret island.

On the way to secure our tickets we ran into the spinning guy.

ImageWe grabbed a quick lunch and when we came out, another show was happening.  Katie and Brendan participated.


We headed passed the ice sculpture toward the woodland gardens.


There were so many activities going on, but we were focused on the secret island. (We did make some photo stops along the way of course) Photographing the garden during a rain is the BEST.  The flowers and plants look so happy and the colors are so saturated.  I still have not made it out to the garden after a fresh snow, that is something I hope happens this year.Image

We got our tickets at 2:00 for the 3:00 tour.  That gave us an hour to roam the Japanese Garden.


We met our guide, Fredrick, at the Plum Viewing Arbor. ¬†He greeted us with a very sincere, “Welcome Honored Guests.” ¬†He explained the concepts of Japanese gardening and beauty, “beauty always follows function.”

FInally we stepped over the bridge to the outer garden of the Tea House Island

ImageFredrick our educator/guide


Lantern set at the curve of the path.  The figure carved into the lantern could be a Christian Symbol. Christianity was against the law, but missionaries found ways of sharing their faith.  This could be an example of an apostle or even Jesus.


This is inside the inner garden.  The bamboo closed in around us and we were surrounded by peaceful greens.  I love this photo because you can see all those different shades, and how dynamic the trimming is.


Here we are entering through the gate into the Teahouse Garden.


Before having a tea ceremony, the honored guest would wash their hands.  The recent rain and the sun shining through the bamboo just made me feel so content.


The tea house! ¬†It was so awesome. ¬†I feel like I could just keep going on and on- but how about this- here is a link to¬†my gallery¬†where you can view all the photos from our visit. ¬†I really recommend the¬†extra $5¬†to see Teahouse Island. ¬†I know it’s something that I will always treasure in my heart. I feel like I could keep sharing photos and stories, so please let me know if you’ve enjoyed this. Maybe I’ll add a part 2.

UPDATE: More photos and some video of Teahouse Island

What’s your favorite part of the botanical garden? ¬†Have you been?

Please email me at if you are interested in using my photos to help publicize the Botanical Garden.  Thank you!

Video Fun

I got into photography because I really love video… Not sure if that makes complete sense but it is true. Telling stories with my camcorder as a kid growing up was my #1 pastime. I wrote scripts, made comedy sketches and even music videos. Being involved in my high school youth ministry fuel this even more. We would create elaborate videos to be shown at quarterly gatherings. I found one gem on youtube that somehow has over 6,000 hits!? We did a parody of Rescue 911. Enjoy my awesome sweater and frizzy hair below.

Yes the quality of acting and production is, in my opinion, top notch. ūüôā

Things have improved so much, I’m SO excited to be doing more video. A few months ago I asked my friend Hannah Frey Tantillo to help me practice recording music. I”m so pleased with the results. I think you be able to see a big jump in quality

Today I am finishing up a two day workshop with the AMAZING Switzerfilm team. I’ve learned a lot and made some new friends. I can’t wait to do more with video!

Mr. Wyatt

My sister had her baby and I’m in love!Image

He really took his time getting here, I’ve been jumping at my phone for over 3 weeks. ¬†He was born on Monday and I’m so excited. ¬†I was able to be at the birth. ¬†That was so cool. ¬†I put a video together for my sister, don’t worry, it’s G rated:

The Little Guy: Wyatt is born

The kids got to meet him on Tuesday.

Brendan thought he was so cute! Image

Katie’s face just melted when she saw him. ¬†It was a precious moment to witness the cousins meeting for the first time ūüôā


I had a really fun newborn session on Tuesday ūüôā ¬†So excited to be able to capture this sweet smile by the 6 day old baby boy


Babies EVERYWHERE! ¬†My world is full of smiles ūüôā

Have a lovely day!!

Ashley + Dustin Sneak Peek

Greeting blog readers!

I’ve been working on so many projects lately that I haven’t been able to share here because they are going to be published in different magazines and music albums, exciting stuff! ¬†This morning I woke up so excited that I have something I can share with you RIGHT NOW!! ūüôā

Ashley and Dustin got married yesterday.  These two are so much fun.  I have a lot of photos to get ready for their viewing session in two weeks, but until then, I hope everyone enjoys these previews.


ImageI loved the color palette for Ashley and Dustin’s wedding. ¬†The rich purple and teal colors hinted at the sea. I just love the sea! (quoting from Little Mermaid 2) Dustin owns Ocean Life Aquaria in Colombia Missouri. ¬†So the beautiful Alfred Angelo Ariel Dress was a perfect fit for this day. ¬†The flowers were perfect from A Moment of Grace Florist. ¬†And what about these shoes!! ¬†I love the little bows!


ImageThe ceremony was held at The Conservatory in St. Charles. ¬†Garden weddings are so cozy. ¬†I love being surrounded by soft greens and fresh flowers. ¬†I like to try and remember what flowers are blooming at each time of the year so that when I see those flowers again the next year I can attach a memory to it. ¬†That kinda sounds crazy, but it’s true. ¬†Anyway, back to the wedding! ¬†Bubbles down the aisle!!! ¬†Photographer happy!!


ImageTwo friends in love.  I was really touched by their ceremony.  Their vows focused on the love, friendship, and respect for each other.  Congrats Ashley and Dustin!

Two weeks and we will have a BUNCH more Ashley and Dustin photos. ¬†If I was to release one more preview, what would you like to see? ¬†Our happy couple in a cool red car? Hanging out on Historic Main Street St. Charles? Fun pictures of the AMAZING groom’s cake? ¬†Let me know in the comments!

Hobbit Nerd

Behold! ¬†I am a nerd and I am PROUD! ¬†As¬†Zachary Levi¬†would proclaim, being a nerd means you are super passionate about something. ¬†I am super passionate about photography, weddings, and the Hobbit! ūüôā ¬†Thank you again all my vendor friends for pulling off this¬†amazing shoot!Image

if you want awesome nerd clothes like my favorite yellow nerd machine shirt above, check out the store at The Nerd Machine.

Oh- and did you get a chance to see the video from our Hobbit Inspired Wedding?  Check it out on my youtube channel!  Have a lovely day!!!


Back to School Night

I just got home from back to school night. ¬†How can that be!? ¬†This summer was a busy one for sure. ¬†I am going to be a mess on the first day of school this year. ¬†Brendan will be joining his sister Katie in school. ¬†What am I going to do all day! ¬†Well, I will be taking a lot more photos. ¬†I have always limited my hours and sessions because I wanted to be at home with my kids before they went to school. ¬†Now that they are both going to be in the classroom all day I am excited for the new adventures I’ll be having. ¬†Deep down inside, I’m afraid I’ll be really lonely…

We started a tradition of taking sunset photos of all the kids jumping in the air.  We did it again this year.  Right before we got into the car I asked my two kids if they would let me take one more (read: Several More) picture of the two of them.  Brendan was being a little difficult, so I told him that if he was a good boy, I would let him take the dirty plastic cup (that he had been using to catch frogs with) home.  So he humored me and I was able to get this image of my sweet babies.  I think I will treasure it forever.


As the first day of school approaches, I look forward to seeing all the “first day of school” photos in my facebook feed.

Which leads me to this question:

What was/is your “Back To School” photo tradition?