Friday, September 30, 2011

balloons {downers grove photography}

Here are some photos I promised of my big 4 year old celebrating her birthday yesterday with the WRONG colored balloons...

She had asked for blue & orange. {I guess she is already an Illini fan} I remembered the blue, since that is by far her favorite color, but apparently the orange slipped my mind...

Just so you know, I took over 100 photos to get this handful of good ones. Gotta love digital + kid photos!

And, the ruffle pants?! Yes. Get used to seeing a lot of these babies. ADORABLE. My 6 year old has a matching pair...

She is holding her beloved chihuahua. The only thing she wanted for her birthday was 2 REAL chihuahuas...

In your dreams baby cakes! I am allergic to anything with fur...

Silly face! Crazy girl!

Here is big brother, whom she adores to give her smoochie kisses...

And bring out more silliness in her... YES, those specs you see in the photo ARE spit as she thinks spraying like an elephant is soooo funny.

Well, we are off to the indoor waterpark with the cousins and then the apple orchard on Sunday to continue the celebration!

Grace & Peace,

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Today my little pumpkin-poos turns FOUR! Isn't it great that she "posed" for this image (above) when she was just days old, planning for mommy's blogging days?!

Here she is at her one year birthday. Our tradition is to go to the Morton Arboretum, since that is where I was the day I went into labor with her... trying to walk her out :) It was the most beautiful fall day! I compared my giant baby belly to the 500 lb pumpkin they had on display that year, and thus the nickname "pumpkin-poos" or "my little pumpkin" began!

Here she is at age 2. Oh, that smile and those fly away piggy tails! I LOVE that dress and can still hear that little giggle.

Here she is at age 3, in the magic chair! That dress is my all time favorite and I actually put it in her keepsake bin. THOSE SHOES... ugh! Stupid plastic shoes I actually let a 3 & 5 year old talk me into! (They literally wore them once as they were so uncomfortable!)

And, here she is at almost 4. This is another Michigan photo from one of her favorite places in the whole wide world: THE BEACH!

Oh, pumpkin-poos...I love you SOOOO much. You are my little shadow, following me everywhere. I love your smile, your silliness, and your nurturing heart. I love watching you play baby dollies and puppies and how you care for them. I think someday you will make a great mommy! I love how this year you have grown so much in your speech development, so that I can now get to know your heart and your thoughts more and more, now that you are better able to communicate. You fascinate me every day with the things you come up with. Even this morning, how you were mad at me for buying the wrong colored balloons (i forgot to get ORANGE) ... but, that you could tell me that is an awesome thing!

Without you, I would have never even dreamed of Life Verse Design. This entire business started because of my pregnancy with you. I have immortalized your chubby baby feet in adorable and timeless artwork, and today once again, I praise God for your life, for all He has taught me through you, and just how He created you.

Grace & Peace,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

To Celebrate Coaches

{all art available here}

I grew up playing soccer and volleyball. The coaches I had throughout the years still hold a special place in my heart. The way they were able to encourage, challenge and motivate, while seeing both the big picture of the team as well as the individual strengths of each player is really inspiring to me.

This coach series art began with the baseball piece. I created it for my brother-in-law who is an AWESOME coach in so many ways. He lives in Orlando, so I have only been able to see him in action once {and that is where I took the baseball image: at one of his games}, but I hear stories of his passion and dedication. It has also been fun to hear how he is already coaching his boys...their 5 year old can switch hit already! YES, it is true.

Over the last couple years, I have had so many requests for other sports, so here is my collection thus far.

One fun and very affordable way to honor the coach in your life is to buy a 5x7 matted print (the matte fits an 8x10 frame). Have the entire team sign the matte, so that the coach will have a unique and memorable gift from his or her team!

Grace & Peace,

Friday, September 23, 2011

I {heart} autumn!

As you can see, I am a tree hugger of sorts. A nature lover. A tree, branch, stick, leaf, pinecone collector. In my college dorm, under my bunk you would find a pile of branches, leaves, etc... to collage into my art at any given time. {I should show you some of those paintings, back in the day!} Was I made fun of? YES. Did I care? NO. I could see the beauty in each and every object.

Well, I am thrilled that autumn has beautifully arrived. I love the weather, the colors, the nature hunts with the kids, the leaf rubbings and collages. And, autumn has obviously also influenced my Life Verse Design art.

All prints are available here.

Grace & Peace,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

seniors {Downers Grove Photography}

Last spring at Lilacia Park in Lombard, Illinois I had a fun shoot with the beauty (above) who is now a college freshman! Wow. These senior pictures were a ton of fun and yes, I even have the older "kids" show me their bare feet sometimes!

Now, this stud I shot at Maple Grove Forest Preserve (near Gilbert's Park) in Downers Grove. He is my cousin's son and I remember photographing him when he was born! Now, he is at least a foot taller than me and is off to college to play ball.

Grace & Peace,

Friday, September 16, 2011

blogworthy: Happy Hair

Last night was haircut night at the Chen's. In order to prepare for our family photo with the fabulous Kelly B. on Sunday, Daddy busted out the clippers and did the above artistry. My favorite little mister thought it was so funny, he asked to keep it.

So, this morning, off he went on a chilly morning with a HAPPY FACE buzzed into the side of his head. I warned him of the looks, the laughter and the comments & he still wanted to do it!

Here is the "normal" mohawk side. He started getting a mohawk when he was 4 years old and obsessed with the yellow Mustang cars we would see at the Friday Night Car Show. He asked for a "racing stripe" to go down the middle of his head.

I guess as parents we just think we (& he) should be able to have fun while they are kids. Though, yes, I will be making him cut it into a proper mohawk for our Sunday portraits.

I am amazed that my favorite little mister has enough confidence in who he is to "go against the flow" as the Christian lingo would say & go to school with this crazy hair. I hope this self assurance overflows into his strong faith in the future when he really WILL need to make hard choices to stand apart.

Grace & Peace,

p.s. I now am unfortunately committed to using proper grammar (in capitalization) in typing just in case my kids ever do read this blog!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

behind the scenes: Aunt Jean's Farm

This past July 2011, the kids and I went on a little "field trip" to Aunt Jean & Uncle Jack's in Wisconsin. They live on a farm, have 2 gorgeous dogs (keep reading), collect antique tractors, cars, and toys, and have lots of land in which we could run free.

While there, I was in photographer heaven. There were so many unique things around their property to shoot, and so I let the kids play with the dogs while I wandered.

Here is some of the resulting art from that day:

{art available here}

Let the good times roll! This art is inspired by our weekly Friday Night Car Show visits here in Downers Grove. My kids love to walk the loop. This is my aunt's car, which was a gift from my uncle. I think she said it was the first car style she ever owned. So sweet!

{art available here}

For months, I have wanted to add a Grandpa print to compliment my Grandma print, but could not think of just the right image (I did NOT want to use golf, baseball, fishing, or beer...), so as I was looking through my images, I thought this is perfect as all men love cars.

This is the "gas station" in which inside you will find a museum of old toys and goodies. It was like stepping back in time!

My favorite little mister LOVED the visit. From figuring out how some of the old gadgets worked, to petting dogs & sitting on tractors, what could be better?!

And, meet Cider. Aunt Jean's pride & joy. (well, one of them at least :)

{art available here}

The above art was the result of the doggie photoshoot. I wanted to give Aunt Jean something special as a thank you for letting us visit and run her dogs wild, and then I thought, heck, I should sell the art too! There are a LOT of dog lovers out there!

If you have a great photo of your own dog you would like me to create this art with, just contact me & I will help you out!

Here is sunshine girl with Nugget. I wanted to do more photos of him, but look at that tongue!!! This is after they played fetch for quite a while on a hot July day!

What could be better than sloppy doggy kisses?!

And, here is just a sampling of her marvelous gardens!

Grace & Peace,