10 on 10 | June 2014

10 on 10 | June 2014

When I thought about how fun it would be to feature our first camping trip on this month’s 10 on 10, I envisioned lots of sunshine and maybe some fishing, hiking, and fun in the wild. (Camping is one of our first big items to check off on our Happy Family Movement Summer Bucket List! )While it was a LOT of fun, it was not what we expected. We rolled up Friday night with some sunshine and lots of excitement. We set up our campsite with our friends, made dinner, and sat around the campfire, enjoying smores and telling stories in a round…then began the rain prep. We knew there was a good chance of rain, but since we are in the Kansas City area, and the forecast rarely stays the same from one hour to the next, we were hopeful that it would be short lived. We woke up to the sound of rain on our tarp covered tent around 6am.  It rained hard all morning and the majority of the afternoon. The kids did so well…playing in the rain and hunting for snails. We tried to venture out a few times after naps, where we found the true meaning of isolated showers, that made us not want to leave our handy dandy tarp awning.

Even though we had a little rain on our parade, we still had a ton of fun with our buddies and would do it all over again!


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Now that you’ve gotten a little campfire smoke in your hair and soaked your shoes, head on over to Jamie Faulkner’s blog and leave her some 10 on 10 love!

10 on 10 | April

10 on 10 | April

My April 10 on 10 was a fun one. One of the countless benefits of being able to work from home and and hang out with my kiddos, is having the flexibility to go on fun field trips! We went to Fogle’s Farm in Harrisonville, MO, where we got to see them hook up cows for their milking and play with pigs and baby cows! The kids were in heaven! Tessa and Max were overcome by the cuteness of the baby cows. Tessa would randomly grab Max and hug him as tightly as she could because she “just can’t handle their face!!”. Max was a mad man through the whole visit, and was totally covered in mud by the time we were ready to go. He’s definitely an outdoorsy kid.
We even bought some of the fresh raw cow’s milk…boy is it tasty!! The farmers at Fogle’s were wonderful with our kiddos, even letting them pour milk into the baby cow’s bins, and answered all of their crazy little questions with so much patience. They have a tent at the Lee’s Summit Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays, so be sure to stop by and meet them and set up a tour of your own! They are the best! We will definitely visit again.




Now that you’ve gone to the farm with me, check out what’s happening over on Jamie Faulkner’s 10 on 10!

Joplin Smile Recap + EMHE

Joplin Smile Recap + EMHE

As you all know, the rebuilding of Joplin tugs on our hearts. We started the Joplin Smile project shortly after the devastating tornado last May and have been so blessed to see how lives were touched by this outreach. From August through October our team of 27 photographers did family portrait sessions for 132 families! How amazing is that!! We can’t thank all of the spectacular photographers enough for the hard work and tears that they have put out there for these folks. If you would like to see some of these beautiful sessions and hear some of the stories, visit the Joplin Smile facebook page.

Shortly after Joplin Smile wrapped up, I received a phone call from one of the gals with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition who extended an invitation to us and our team to take photos of the houses that they were building for Joplin families. We were ecstatic!! We didn’t quite know the details of how many photographers would be needed or how many houses were being built but we knew that we absolutely had to be a part of it. There was so much devastation in Joplin, and this would such a wonderful step in the healing process for this town.

Here is a little peek into the beautiful houses for the amazing families that were chosen.



Seven houses in seven days and 6 photographers = a ton of fun!
Check out the rest of the houses at our talented friends’ blogs! Love Tree Studios (the lovely gals pictured with me above!) Catherine Rhodes Photography, and Jennifer Seris Photography

Here’s a view outside of one of the beautiful backyards. So much was done for Joplin through this amazing project, but as you can see, there is still so much more to be done! Continue keeping these folks in your prayers as they rebuild their beloved city.


Omaha Zoo Fun!

Omaha Zoo Fun!

I’m behind on blogging, I know. Things have been a bit crazy around here. Amidst the busyness, we took our first real family vacation a couple of weeks ago to Omaha, NE to visit the Omaha Zoo. It was so fun! We spent the whole day wandering around the zoo, some of the time with our friend and tour guide, Rochelle and her sweet daughter Evelynn (seen in the previous post). Ella was just in awe the entire time. It had been about a year since we had taken her to a zoo, and as crazy about animals as she is, it was really exciting for her. We talked all about the different animals, the majority of which she was able to quickly and correctly identify, did animal noises, and her new thing, “what is big and what is little”….for example, “The elephant is big and the penguin is little.” All that coming from my almost two year old. So proud!

Love this one…it’s a bit blurry but it was a glimpse of her visit with the monkeys, which were her favorite. I wish we had taken more photos! We were too busy laughing at her reactions.

No trip to the zoo is complete without petting goats!

The rain forest was my favorite.

But you’ve gotta love Puffins. This one was going nuts. It kept trying to fly against the glass.

She was so interested in everything we saw.

Oh my, how I love those guys! Words cannot describe how truly blessed I am to have these two spectacular people in my life.

We have officially decided that we need to visit many more zoos. Gotta nurture the interest of our little zoo keeper!

Grove Getaway

Grove Getaway

This past weekend we had the honor of visiting my grandparents in Grove, OK for the weekend. What a joy they are. These are the spectacular folks, who even though they live several hours away, talk to us on average three times a week. They are determined to have relationships with us and our kiddos even though there is geographical distance between us.

We had a wonderfully relaxing time with them over the weekend. The coolest thing to me was how my daughter, Elliana had a connection with them even though she has only seen them once or twice in her life. We’ve now been home for a day and a half and she’s still talking about them. It brought tears to my eyes seeing my Grandpa snuggling little Ella and reading books to her, the very same way he did with me, my sisters, and my cousins. It was so sweet to see Grandma cradling Ella’s baby dolls, upon Ella’s request, and to hear my little princess admiring her beautiful knitting handy work.

Brian got to work with Grandpa in the “Shack” (wood shop) on a little project as well. Grandpa has such attention to detail and is of course amazing at what he does. This is the same talented guy who made the beautiful recipe box from my previous post.

We are blessed beyond words to have such a wonderful family, particularly these Grandparents. We look forward to many more visits with these simply amazing people.