M4H Life in 52

I started a personal project for the first time this year.  Sarah Cornish of My 4 Hens Photography put together the project.  To say she is amazing is an understatement!  She has created such a warm and inviting community.  So not only have I grown but I also have these amazing memories!!  Now that we are half way through the project my goal is to get in the frame with my kiddos more for the rest of the year.

What to do with School Photos

54008040269__F51D26E0-420C-4D7D-8E56-0B9D0957BF1ALet me start with the surprising facts that go with this photo.  I am the oldest of 6.  I was 11 when my sister Samantha was born (she’s the baby) and 17 when my sister Alena was born.  Yes, same parents.  I was raised Catholic so big families are in our DNA, I suppose.  My Grandma and Grandpa Hartsuff had 15 children.  My Dad is the 11th of 15.  We lived 2 houses down from them and were there several times a week to see cousins, play cards, get treats and watch the fun TV shows.  When my Grandma died she had 100 grand and great-grandchildren.  You read that right 100!  My Grandma was so proud of us all (she definitely had her favorites, for which I was not one of them LOL) and she remembered all our birthdays and gave gifts at Christmas.  She was truly one of a kind.  I once asked her what she would have done if she wasn’t a Mom and her reply was, “I would have been a nun.”  She raised her children to love each other and help each other through tough times.  They are all still close and most of them live within an hour drive to each other.  She had lots of traditions I absolutely want to re-create with my family and this one sticks out to me the most.

See that wall behind us in this photo?  That is the wall of grand children.  It eventually swung all the way around the corner and down the hall. She put our photos in 5×7 frames and instead of removing the photo she simply added the newest school photo on top.  The frames didn’t have to match and the most recent photo didn’t even have to measure 5×7.  She just displayed them.  I tend to be a perfectionist and memories and kids are so far from perfect.  So, please, just display the photo.  Let you little ones look serious when they are in a serious mood.  Capture the crazy smile.  AND display those moments in your home.  Let them know you are proud of them wether they have a crazy smile or no smile at all.  So when she passed away, we all received our frames with all of our school photos in them.  It was a treasure to me.  You can see me in the bright green sweater, I still love neon and will always be an 80s kiddo at heart!

If you are like me and aren’t sure you want to devote a wall to school photos here is a photo of how I’m displaying my kiddos photos in our living area.  It’s important to remember a lot of photographers are offering digital photos now so it’s good to go back and make sure those are saved in a save place and printed and put behind the most recent photo.  It’s a project I’m working on now and it’s been fun!


Cheers, to school photos, goofy smiles, toothless grins, chubby cheeks and NEON!



Traveling with Kiddos

With my family in Michigan and Brian’s family in Utah we do a fair amount of traveling. I often travel with the kids alone and feel I’ve grown accustomed to traveling with a baby.  I am a self diagnosed control freak and typically plan everything out and do a lot for my kiddos.  We’ve gotten through some tough trips (i.e. flights without diapers, flights with ear infections and flights with wet clothes) and it’s always been worth it in the end.  I guess this goes into the category of being a better baby mom than a kid mom and I’ll have to dive into that topic at a later date.  Basically I’m ready for a new travel routine!

We have some fun adventures on the books and in the works for this year and I’d love some advice.  What brand of suitcases are best for kiddos?  Do you have them check their suitcase and carry on a back pack?  Or carry on their suitcase? Do you pack for the kids?  They pack with you?  They pick some fun coloring books to bring?  We usually pack empty water bottles, are there any brands that DON’T explode mid-air like the camelbacks?

We have electronics for the kids so we are good there, just wondering routines that work well for others. 🙂

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I have done some reflecting and one of the things I want to dive into is preserving family memories.  I think getting family photos done and milestone photos are important and I invest myself in those areas.  However, that only includes about 1% of the year.  So to start preserving memories get out YOUR camera and get IN photos with your kiddos!  Get out your iPhone.  Do whatever it is that works best for you to remember those moments.

We recently upgraded our cloud capacity and now all my old videos are on my phone.  My oldest pulled up the video of the moment she first belly laughed.  I was instantly brought back to that moment.  I remember being on that couch with her, drinking my coffee and being in awe of her tiny laugh.  Photos and videos have such power and meaning and I want to share those with my kids.

If you are anything like me, taking the photos is not the problem.  It’s organizing them in a way that makes sense and printing them that is the issue.  I’m going to start going through my own stuff and organizing it and will share the fails and successes with you all!

In the spirit of capturing those memories I have included some of my personal favorite images from our recent Tahoe trip.  These photos are not perfect and most of them would not end up in a client gallery but they mean something to me and my hope is one day they mean something to my kiddos too. ❤





First Blog Post

This feels SO out of my comfort zone and a little like I’m out in a giant field by myself (hence the photo) but here goes! I am a big believer in Intentions.  My intention with this blog is to share a little more of the “me” behind the photos.

My photography in general is my way of loving on my family, clients and friends.  Last year I took a step back to give each client the time and attention they deserve and have time to grow my craft.

So here are my intentions specifically with my photography this year…

  • To continue to create an experience where the client feels truly held and seen in the most beautiful way.
  • To continue to grow and be a student of light.
  • To use my camera to find beauty in our everyday through completing the Life in 52 project.

The technical side of this blog is super intimidating to me but my hope is by doing I will learn.  I’m really embracing the imperfection here and jumping in!  Cheers to getting out of our comfort zones right out of the gate!

Baby B is 4 Months

There is something fun, exciting, nerve wrecking and loving about growing your family. These parents are building something truly special. I was so happy to capture a small slice of their life and interaction.  Maddy is a proud big sister and the perfect combination of girly and adventurous.  Brayden has the most beautiful baby blues!  Mama lights up at the site of her kiddos and Dad is full of fun!

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My Soul Project 2017

My goal in picking up my camera has always been to document my family and express myself creatively.  So far, I’ve let photography rules, beautiful homes and gorgeous images I see hold me back from taking this tiny creative space of mine a bit deeper.  The truth is I’ve done a lot of soul searching and deep work in my life and the “you are not good enough” voice still shows up too often.  I want this year to be a year of growth for me.  Both personally and professionally.  I want to fall in love with my camera all over again and start documenting the real.  I want to find the style and heart of my business.  This project to shoot everyday and share once a week feels raw and scary but all the amazing things in my life have started from a place of raw and scary.

Cheers to finding what we love, giving it the space it deserves and taking that leap of faith!  Here goes nothing!