Personal: Home Projects

I've posted before about some house updates we've made (and so much has changed since then!) but I think the most drastic changes to our property have been in the backyard.  We bought the house in 2013, and when we did, this is what the back yard looked like:

Beautiful and a little bit out of control.  We got Custom Lawns to come out and take care of (amazing) and then Talbert Fencing and Gutters took care of the rest of our privacy fence.  Also amazing.  Again, here are the before and afters of that 2014 project.


We're so excited.  Believe it or not, that's the same corner of the yard!!  We now have a "playground," as Charlotte calls it.  About $50 in landscape edging, a $17 mallet, and a three trips hauling mulch from my parents house  (Custom Lawns is doing incredible work clearing out their cedar trees) later, and WE HAVE A STINKIN' PLAYGROUND.  I really think there was no sweating on our parts getting this done--it was time intensive, but not labor intensive.  That's easy for me to say, though--Jeff did most of the work.  Guy works like 94 hours a week and then comes home and jumps right in with my "plans."  He really is the best.  

Also, side note, our parents are incredible.  With this particular project, my parents really stepped in and helped, but Jeff's parents are just as quick to help as well.  If we ever want to do a project on our own, we're going to really have to keep it a secret, because these folks are seriously selfless and ready to serve.

One of our neighbors (biased but right) says that we live on the best street in Van Alstyne.  Now I'm starting to think that when, someday, we have to sell this house (booooooo), we may have another selling point! BACKYARD OF THE MONTH!!  (That's not real.  I wish it was.)

Here are a few more before-and-after shots, plus the wreaths I hung before Charlotte's birthday party.  The actual wreaths are from Hobby Lobby (about $10 total, with that magical 40% off coupon that you can ALWAYS use) and then the flowers are from our local party store, and at 70% off they were about $5.  Couple that with the confidence I got from attending a Thistle Floral Design Workshop and BOOM.  $15 for two wreaths.

Here's before, with my trusty mallet-weilding assistant:

And here's after.  So excited that when it rains, we can still go out the next day and play without getting totally muddy.

Chance and Leah

One of my most favorite things about my business is that more often than not, I'm working with folks I know and love (and, when I have the privilege of working with a new friend, that's the best too.  WIN/WIN!).  I had not met Chance before this session, but knowing Leah, I figured he would be pretty fantastic.  Spoiler alert:  I was right.

Leah is part of our RYLA family, and even volunteered an entire week of her time to take care of Charlotte at camp about a year and a half ago--they were best friends within about 45 seconds, which, as you mommas and daddys know, means that Leah forever has a special place in the hearts of my family.  If you love our babies, we will love you.  It's a simple deal.  

Leah is pretty lovable on her own, too--and the relationship she has with Chance, her high school sweetheart, is a blast to watch.  They don't hesitate to compliment or joke with each other, and seem to truly want the best for the other person, but know that they need to maintain their own selves as well.  I'm all about that balance, folks.  Marriage is the best, and sticky-sweet all the time just doesn't work.  Hearty love is a little gnarly and burned up--going through fire together will do that.  These two are the kind of folks who have, and will continue to, let the flames burn them together and brand them for each other, rather than look for a reason to blame the other for the heat.  They're going to make it, mark my words.

Sanders Family: Family Session

AND 2016 IS WRAPPED UP, FRIENDS!  What a note to go out on.  These sweet new friends drove an hour to meet me in the middle and completely rocked the 39 degree (I think I'm being generous, guys) windy shoot we had.  FOUR beautiful kids, y'all--how great is that?!--and a family completely in love with one another.  Best possible way to wrap up the year.

Jewels: Newborn

This sweet baby has taken my family by storm!  The firstborn of my older brother, sweet Jewels is living up to her name already--a total gem.  This newborn shoot is actually comprised of two separate shoots--one in the morning, and one in the evening.  I really like the versatility we show here--a bright-eyed girl in the morning, brave and independent, and a sleepy girl in the evening who really just needs to be held.  Y'all, enjoy these sweet cheeks, because if I had it my way, we'd keep her all to ourselves.

Cara: Musician

Childhood friend turned highly trained musician, y'all.  WATCH. OUT.

Our sweet little hometown has turned out a lot of very successful folks--by both traditional definition (education, travel, financial gain) and (in my opinion) actual definition (broadening experiences, pursuing dreams, acquiring grit).  Cara's story definitely falls into all of the above categories, but most certainly in a completely unique manner.

After earning her Bachelor's at TCU and working in Music Ed for a while, Cara went where (maybe literally) no man (from our hometown) had gone before--she went to Ireland to get her Master's Degree!  How sweet is that?!  She's back now and back in Music Ed, evaluating what the future may hold for her.  I would attempt to explain more about her degree and training, but I am QUITE certain I would do more harm than good--the good news is, these photos were taken for her new website, and I'm certain she can explain her life pretty succinctly!  I will be sure to point everyone that way when the time comes.

Also: this session was a blasty blast.  Catching up with an old friend?  Check.  Make that an incredibly gorgeous friend?  Check CHECK.  Ending up with the most eclectic group of photos of any session in recent history?  OH CHECK YEAH!