shoe box prints and the evolution of a camera

By Moriah on April 20th, 2015

I don’t know about you, but for me, making memory books or scrapbooks for my kids has totally gone by the wayside. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that. Plus it wasn’t something I really ever loved. And tends to be super expensive.

Whatever. So a couple of weeks ago I was looking for a picture of me and some cousins when we were little, and I have no idea where I (mis)placed that photo. I looked in every place I could think of for random photos and couldn’t find it. I did, however, find lots of hilarious pictures I had completely forgotten about. I threw out the ones we definitely do not need to keep and stacked the rest neatly in some boxes and returned them to the shelf. And I realized, that is the fun part. Having a shoe box of old photos to sort through and laugh over on a rainy day.

THAT’S what I want to do for my kids.

I have thousands and thousands of photos of my kids. (Of course it was different for me, because growing up film was expensive and developing them added up.) Now in our digital age we have much better options – but perhaps a downside is the ridiculous amount of pictures we take. I decided to begin sorting through the months and years, printing out the best ones of each child, and start each of them a shoe box full of their baby and childhood photos.



Luckily I had already done highlight photos for 2011 (the year Ethan was born) for the grandparents and they were already uploaded to snapfish.  I started there. I ordered probably about 450 prints, about 3/4 were from that year. I went the cheap route since these are FOR THE KIDS. Normally I use a pro lab for prints. Totally different for this case. ;)




One thing I noticed is the evolution of my camera(s). I have some prints from when Drew and Madeline were babies and we still had a film camera that, again, you couldn’t see the photos until you picked them up. And then enter the first digital cameras (I started with a point n shoot), and then later to my first dSLR. I think it was a nikon D3000 or something like that. The most noticeable difference was clearly I wasn’t controlling any settings like I should have been, and I definitely wasn’t adjusting any white balance. There are some good ones but many many too-dark or orangey ones. It just makes me laugh now.

And then you can tell when I upgraded to the canon 60D that I had for a while. I stopped using flash and started poking around at settings and composition and all of those things. Many still weren’t in crisp focus or the lighting wasn’t good enough for the shutter speed to freeze the motion in the frame. Still, lots of keepers. It was a good camera while it lasted.



(But still, if your main subject isn’t in focus, it’s probably not a good photo.)


With my personal preference to not use flash, even that camera started to have limitations.  And if I was going to do portraits for other people and they pay me for my work, a full frame body was an obvious choice even though the markiii is a monster of a camera.  I can shoot in a pretty dark room and not have too much problem with grain.  (These ones I took of Arianna were in my bedroom with half of the curtains closed.)




(Obviously the lens has a lot to do with how low your aperture can go, but it’s also fun to be able to blur things on purpose and highlight things that may not have been the most obvious choice.)



When they first came in the mail, of course all five of them were so excited and couldn’t wait to see their own stack.  I had to sort all the prints, divide the doubles and triples, and then make sure all the hands were clean before I let them have at it.  It was a really fun moment.


I love that they will each have their own memories to take. (And I have my copies, too).






Until I get 5 boxes, for now they are going to live in the memory boxes they already have, full of hospital papers, baby shoes, baptism records and the like.  It’s a start!  And so excited to begin.



It’s the gift that will keep on giving. Love.

(set taken 50mm 1.2 between 2.2 and 3.5 and around ISO3200-4000)

one quick dinner

By Moriah on March 19th, 2015

I know I haven’t posted in a while but I need to share this “recipe” with you. For all the fellow overwhelmed mommas with kids that walk in at 4:30pm with hungrycrazy eyes – slacker moms unite!

This is my slightly healthier version of hamburger helper. And we have it a lot because it’s easy and my kids snarf it down. I use the square organic beef that Costco sells and I don’t even know how much is in one of those pouches. Be right back. Ok, 1.34 pounds. And a chopped onion. Brown meat completely with the chopped onion. When the meat is fully cooked and starting to smell delicious, add in a half a bag of hash browns (shredded or cubed), and brown those too.


Meanwhile, I cook (usually in the microwave) about 4-5 cups mixed frozen veggies. It takes about 15 minutes in mine. Or you can steam on the stove, whatever.


The sauce is a can of cream of celery (you can make the equivalent of a cream sauce for a gluten free version), and some milk. I use garlic salt liberally to season. (No, I don’t care about using a condensed cream soup every couple of weeks. And also, I shop at Aldi.)


Melt in about 6oz grated cheddar cheese. This is very obviously the key ingredient.



Add in more cheese if you feel necessary.

When the whole pan is creamy and the cheese has all melted in, drain the veggies and stir them in, too.


I’m a huge fan of one-dish meals, so much easier when you have a bunch of little mouths to feed.


the Christmas musical

By Moriah on December 15th, 2014

“The Miracle on Bethlehem Street” – so funny and cute. Loved watching all the kids and they did a great job!






(Madeline – a Roman herald & Drew – hotel staff)












O Christmas Tree

By Moriah on December 13th, 2014

I’ve been a walking disaster for months. Most recently weepy over this book, resonating deeply with how she describes her spiritual life and her view of God. Tearing up regularly thru worship at our contemporary church we attend Saturday nights. In a word, basically, a mess.

So two weeks ago I thought hey! I’ll get myself back into the gym! And I took the littles ONCE and we’ve been fighting fever virus and sickness ever since. (To top it off while the kids were sick last week, Andy was out of town on a business retreat. When he got home Thursday I pretty much collapsed.) And even with all the sickness, the kids have been hounding us to get a Christmas tree. I’m sorry but that is the very last thing on my list for this lifetime.




They were so, so happy.



Madeline super proud we bought the one she picked out.






Sometimes, you have to throw out the Pinteresty expectations and allow your hubby to drag you to Home Depot on a dark Friday night. With no makeup on. It just might be the very thing you didn’t even know you needed.

we went to CO

By Moriah on September 8th, 2014

Our entire family jetsetted to Colorado last week for my baby sister’s wedding. We have never flown with all 5 and it was so fun! Kids loved the adventure and we loved not spending 23 hours squished in a car.


(I’m totally jealous of my parents’ grass.)



So obviously the first several days were spent prepping for the wedding, my mom was just a *little* busy. Tons of trips to the cabin, where the ceremony and reception were. Which, just for the record, was in a pretty remote location. 551A9572




There was no plan B (otherwise known as a tent) for rain. And tho it started sprinkling while guests were starting to arrive, by the time the mothers and grandmothers were seated, the sky was clear and beautiful.



This is the ONE shot I got of the newlyweds, I’m very sorry to say.  That’s okay because their photographer got approximately ten thousand fifty.

aaaand, the obligatory twin shot: (so cute!)



Such rustic venue and beyond gorgeous, the stylist did an amazing job. And my sister is just slightly addicted to pinterest.

I love night shots with no flash. They had lawn games, stuff for s’mores and a bonfire. So fun.



Only downside was the coffee, it was not decaf.

And I slept in a camper.


By Moriah on August 23rd, 2014

So, Adelaide had a little run in with the trampoline and a mis-landed trick and fractured her arm. We are both glad that it happened the last week of the swim season and not the first.




It will be 2 weeks on Tuesday. I took her to her 2nd follow-up appointment on Friday thinking they’d take the splint off and put a cast on. He just cut more of a notch for her fingers and left the splint. Whatever, I’m over it now. The nice thing is she won’t have to have it sawed off when the time comes. She is such a good sport (although we both have our moments).


Taking good care of our patient.


And using up all the bandaids.

{grain-free cookies}

By Moriah on August 8th, 2014

So, I’ve been doing a little weight-loss experiment. I tried gluten-free and there was no change. A friend recommended looking at the numbers of the ‘other’ carbs I was eating and that was rather eye-opening. So I cut out those, too. I generally try to be sugar-free as well.

Anyway, we had dinner over at our neighbors house last week and she made these grain-free cookies and perhaps I’ve been living under a rock, but I had never heard of them before. So I’m sharing this super simple recipe in case you’ve been living under a rock, too.

(Also, obviously not sugar free, but I am gonna experiment with cutting it down to as little as possible. I just like having an option for special occasions and the most important thing to me is that they are grain free.)


The dough is 1 cup peanut butter, one egg, and one cup of sugar (I’m going to try halfing it next time). THAT’S IT. I use organic PB from Costco that has no added sugar, it’s basically just pureed peanuts.) If you have more than one kid you probably need to double or triple the recipe. Throw in a handful of choc chips if you feel necessary. You do have to shape & flatten them yourself as they won’t flatten otherwise.


Try camera settings on your cranky post-nap toddler while you wait.



YUM, enjoy.




By Moriah on July 25th, 2014

Spent some time this week updating this site with the last couple of sessions!

just another Thursday

By Moriah on July 17th, 2014

So, this is a rare occasion. It’s the middle of the afternoon, I’m sitting with coffee at the dining table, and it’s completely quiet. Ethan fell asleep in the van on the way home and miraculously transferred to my bed. Our neighbors just came home from Germany and so my girls are over there, excited to finally see their friends again. And Drew is quiet upstairs.

My mom was here this week but left today. We got some of my to-do list knocked out, which always makes me happy. (I am not a take-joy-in-the-process kinda girl, I’m a let’s-get-that-sucker-checked-off kinda gal.) Swim season is over and so now we are going to say no to everything and just enjoy the rest of the [unscheduled] summer.



(Don’t mind the gaping hole in the net, she was dying for me to watch some of her tricks.)




love that face.


By Moriah on July 9th, 2014

I was showing Adelaide all of her photos from the time she was a teeny baby to the ripe ol’ age of 7 under her tab on this blog.  It made me want to start fresh.  So much life recorded here!

This summer is, unfortunately for me, flying by.  I hoped we could enjoy it at a snail’s pace.  We’ve been REALLY busy with swim team.  Their last meet was this past Monday and all that is left is the city-wide meet this weekend, and then the team party.  I made myself bring my big camera to the last home meet so I’d have some good images of this season and I am just now getting around to putting them on here.







They’ve done really well their first season. Madeline’s been in the newspaper (high-scorers list) for almost every meet – girlfriend can swim!! Drew has been bumped up to swim with the 11/12 boys (he’s 10) quite a bit, which means a lot tougher but good experience. I feel like this is only just the beginning of the pool for us.

(BTW we were without hot water only 9 days, which seems like ages ago now. ;)

gettin’ a little stinky in here

By Moriah on May 28th, 2014

This marks the 8th day of no hot water in our house.

Last Tuesday my brother had stopped by to hang out for a bit, and we kept hearing this beepy noise.  But I couldn’t tell where it was coming from… it was the weirdest thing.  Finally we realized it was coming from the basement!  The alarm unit over the water heater was chirping “warning! carbon monoxide! warning! carbon monoxide!”  I’m super thankful Micah was there and knew how to turn the gas and everything off.

Basically the venting system on a gas heater is supposed to be vertical; we discovered ours was horizontal (have I mentioned we live in an old house?).  The first plumber that came to check it said the vent was probably full of soot, which had filled up over the years making it so the unit couldn’t ‘breathe,’ and then the pilot had lit itself on fire.  A little scary.

I have to admit that the first three days (Adelaide also started running a random fever over the weekend and we had to take her back to the ER for more tests, none of which were positive for anything, most likely viral) I was really struggling with despair and anger.  We have a home warranty plan for home systems and initially they denied the water heater claim.  Those were some very low moments.

On Friday a friend shared some of her family’s struggles with me and it really helped pull my thoughts off of my own problems and get some perspective.  I knew we were heading into a long holiday weekend and the water heater situation was not going to be fixed any time soon.  I knew I just had to get over the nuisance that surrounds a lack of hot {sanitizing} water in a household and move on and make due.  I pulled out my year-reading plan and spent some time in the Word and in prayer and seriously guys, Jesus’s peace surpasses any circumstance.  I have thought over and over and over through this process that I just know one of the lessons for me in this has been that too often I let my circumstances determine my attitude and my happiness, and I allow them to take away my joy.

I’m still waiting for hot water and that is ok.  I feel like we’ve been camping, boiling water and just generally overlooking the dirt and the pool hair.  I’m so very thankful that we are in the summer season and we have a pool we can live at use.  Drew and Madeline are on the swim team and I’ve already given up on her straw hair.  I’ve washed my own hair twice in cold water, which as it turns out doesn’t really get rid of the grease (who knew?).  Of course I have sweet neighbors that would let us come over in a heartbeat, but we’re talking a 3 minute process vs. a 35 minute process and sometimes I would rather just grit my teeth.

one little peanut

By Moriah on May 12th, 2014

This is one for the history books. And for those friends-afar who aren’t on facebook :)

A couple of weeks ago, our Adelaide-girl got pretty sick. We had dyed Easter eggs with friends that had fever, so when she turned up sick a couple days later, naturally I assumed it was viral and we just had to wait it out. She missed school Thursday and Friday of that week, perked up a little Saturday afternoon, but then took a nosedive and stayed pretty puny on the couch after that.

The following Monday we were in a direct line of the tornadoes that threatened this part of the country. My anxiety switched from Adelaide to the storms, and we did get actual warning alerts on our phones. Not fun. We pulled the kids out of bed and slept several hours in our cellar-basement, in a tent. At that point I still thought Adelaide had something nasty like the real flu and wasn’t loving the fact that she was breathing all over us in those too-close quarters.

Monday Andy and I prayed for her, asking specifically that the Lord would show us what to do. He took the other kids to school on Tuesday and then when I woke up shared that he was really worried about her. We called her pediatrician and were able take her right in. She asked him a million questions, listened to Adelaide breathe, and said she definitely had pneumonia in her right lung. The nurse walked in then with a positive strep test.

She never once had a sore throat, no trouble swallowing, nothing to indicate strep. It was really weird. She had told us that her “bone” (rib) hurt when she breathed, but that could easily have been from coughing or any number of things. Anyway, her pediatrician gave us a strong antibiotic and said we should notice a dramatic improvement within about 24 hours.

Which brings us to Wednesday night and her 4th dose, which she threw up. I walked around the corner from the kitchen and saw her bright red face and felt her head – super hot. I panicked a little trying to locate the thermometer, finally found it and it read 104.4 – and this was on meds! We decided to take her in, better at 9pm than 2am when we were freaking. out.

We decided Andy should be the one to navigate the ER. I stayed home and put the kids to bed and then waited by my phone. Around midnight he texted me that they were admitting her. There was “quite a lot of fluid” in her right lung according the x-ray. Question answered for the rib pain. I knew she was in good hands and went to sleep.

Thursday morning Andy called with an update of the night. He should have prefaced it with “are you sitting down?” because basically once they got her on the floor, those doctors said they needed to consult with the surgery team. (Surgery?! We had thought we were gonna be doing IV antibiotics in the ER and sent home!)

One of the docs asked Andy “have you SEEN the x-ray? It’s impressive.” Apparently not in a good way. And then the surgeon came, paced around her room a minute, pointed at her and said “ok she’s okay, right? Like she’s breathing mostly okay?” Andy nods. “Well according to this x-ray she should not be able to breathe, she should be coughing her brains out.”

Like, literally drowning in fluid. He had three theories about what was going on but needed a CT scan to verify. So they wheeled her down to CT at 4am (which the nurse on the way says to Andy, ‘I can’t believe they are doing a scan in the middle of the night! They usually wait ’till morning!’ Andy’s thinking ‘oh great! Lord, are you taking her home early? should I be preparing myself???’)

The CT scan confirmed what the sergeon had guessed, that the matter was solid (empyema). Basically it’s text-book common for strep-based pneumonia to solidify a “peel” over the pockets of fluid/pus. Gross, I know. So they knew they had to do surgery to remove it because antibiotics would never be able to break that down. And while this is a known complication of this type of pneumonia, they never see it. He consulted with his boss and checked several case studies about the best way to go in and remove it. They ended up making three incisions on her right side and going in with a laparoscopic camera, scraped out her lung and then inserted a chest tube to drain the fluid. She got out of surgery Thursday around 5pm. She had been asking us all day “WHEN IS IT TIME FOR WATER?” poor girl was so parched with the ‘nothing by mouth’ rule pre-surgery so she slurped a few juices and popsicles when she got out (still totally drugged, kinda funny).

There were a couple other minor issues that popped up… like not going potty after being pumped with like 4 bags of fluid and all that juice. The doc said if she hadn’t gone by midnight they might have to start poking around to see what was going on. Her bladder ultrasound wasn’t showing much liquid, they were worried that her kidneys were holding on to it. She ended up going later, which just shows the extreme dehydration her body had suffered from the illness.

The chest tube stayed in until Monday. She was on constant pain meds for that (SUPER cranky if we failed to keep on top of them, they are very painful and uncomfortable) and her last IV dose of antibiotics was late Tuesday night. We got discharged Wednesday afternoon and she is still on oral antibiotics. After she finishes those we go back for a follow-up x-ray and more blood work, probably on Thursday.



HATING bubbles with Auntie Erin, super painful at first, but doctor’s orders.


We had a pretty constant stream of visitors, which we were so grateful for. Thank you to all the people that loved on us with food, coffee, DVDs for Adelaide, and showering her with cards and gifts.



Our children’s hospital is amazing. We always have good experiences there. On Tuesday the Child Life program arranged for a drummer to come play music with her, and had percussion instruments that she could play from her hospital bed. And then later an artist came and let her paint. She LOVED.



Thanking God for keeping our little one safe, for preparing the way for her treatment and care, and for continuing to heal her.


ethan, unedited

By Moriah on March 17th, 2014

(Well, originally, I did upload these straight from the camera but the vertical ones transferred sideways. So I had to do some very quick edits, but mostly they are straight from camera. ANYWAY.)



I took these a couple of weeks ago, after church. I love the vintage-y feel of them (outfit is from Olive Juice, thanks Grandmommy!) but I do need to state for the record that we were in the ER with this boy a week ago Saturday. We had been at the park FIVE WHOLE MINUTES before he fell from a climbing structure and gashed the back of his head.


Logistically the hospital visit went as smoothly as it possibly could have, just a hassle. Sometimes I swear if we make it to adulthood with this kid we will have accomplished no small feat.


And of course he alternates between being utterly infuriating (hairspray, anyone?) and the CUTEST. THING. EVER.





I mean how can you not melt? That face.

the things I want to remember

By Moriah on March 7th, 2014



I snatched these photos yesterday afternoon when these two were playing on their brother’s bed. These are two that don’t often play one-on-one together. The times they do, though, are pure sweetness.


Ari exclaiming over the “bazanya!” we had for supper tonight (lasagna, thanks, Amy!). Ethan telling me he had “four, five, six, seben, eight peppamints” when he was at the church with Andy last night. Pretty sure it was just two.

Kicking Madeline’s behind in ten frantic games of Blink, although she did cream me once. No I am not the kind of mother that lets her kid win.

Drew, very concerned where I was going to get marbles for the new reward system we are gonna try, and digging out all the plastic Marbleworks for me to “use.” Thanks but not exactly what I had in mind. (I was gonna link where I got the idea but can’t find it now.)

And eye winks from my 2 year old when I tuck him in.

a child’s insight

By Moriah on February 24th, 2014

I’m part of a women’s small group on Thursday nights and it is different than any other I’ve ever been a part of. Those women are real. They are in the Word. They also aren’t afraid to lay open their issues and struggles and be honest about our humanity and sinfulness. Jesus is there! We’re already forgiven and so there’s nothing left to hide. His is the only opinion that matters, anyway.

So a couple weeks ago the gal that generally leads the discussion shared about how she is having her 8 or 9 year old daughter read her own Bible and then come talk to her mom about what she just read. In this instance she was reading the passage where Peter walks on the water towards Christ. Her mom said “okay, tell me about that story!” and the daughter says something along the lines of “well, Peter was walking on the water to Jesus, and he was doing okay until he turned around to see if his friends were watching.”

Um, WOW.

What tremendous insight from a child! Of course the account mentions Peter seeing the wind and the waves and getting fearful and scared. Either way, he had his eye on his circumstances and not on Christ. And how often ARE we paying more attention to see if our friends are watching? I’m just still so blown away by her answer and have been thinking about it ever since.

growing tired of old man winter

By Moriah on February 19th, 2014

My mom has been here for two weeks, helping me and giving us a fun break. Kids were off school Monday and Tuesday (along with the snow days last week) so it was great to have Grandmommy around for all the free time. You know, someone to make the rice-krispie treats and help with the wet mittens. And we’ve been watching a whole lotta Olympics. Again, good timing. We’re all big fans.

Today the big kids and I finally went to the LEGO movie. Big treat under current circumstances and Arianna was hilarious, her feet barely hanging off the end of her chair, with her little stash of popcorn. Every once in a while I’d look over and she was drooping just a little bit lower. I finally asked if she wanted me to hold her and the next thing I know she’s draped over me and snoring. And also, she’s hot when she sleeps.

Mom being here has also freed me up to do a couple of photo sessions. You can see a few highlights on the other site: sudden movements, including one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen. I had a blast taking my friend Becky’s family photos yesterday, those will be up sometime this week. I’m finding it a little hard to know what to do with THIS space, since a whole part of me feels like it’s outgrown blogging. I love posting photos, but this isn’t a photog blog, and now I have that one… See? Dilemma.

Tonight on the radio the host was talking about the encouragement she got from a little note her dad recently gave her, telling her how they got her name. So that started the mental rabbit trail about remembering my own name, and why my parents chose it. Moriah is the mountain where Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac but then right at the last moment, God swooped in and told him to stop — it was a test of faith.

I know it’s hard to relate a swirl of feelings in type but it was a moment of clarity for me. It’s easy to struggle through the Christian life, wondering if my relationship with Jesus is just all in my own head. Maybe I’m the only one. But to remember that chosen of God – it’s not up to me, I’ve already been redeemed… such a moment of freedom and a timely reminder after struggling thru the winter.

Spring is on its way.

hi there

By Moriah on January 16th, 2014

I know I know I know. FOREVER. I don’t even know where to start except to say that yes, my life is wonky and upside down for the time being but we’re all still alive and mostly good, so we’ll just go from there.

Some quicky updates… Drew and Madeline are doing well sharing 3rd grade this year, it’s FABULOUS to have two kids doing all the same homework. I am enjoying them more and more each day, as they grow and mature, and as their personalities develop. Drew is still his easy-going self, but he’s become more tender and sweet – often asking about me and always wanting to make sure I’m okay.

Madeline is a complete hoot. I have no idea where she comes up with this stuff but she can blast out one-liners at the most hilariously perfect moments. Funny, funny girl. Mostly helpful. And not above bribing baby brother with ‘pretend candy’ to get him to eat his veggies. The girl will do anything for sugar herself, so of course that makes perfect sense.

Adelaide, I don’t even know how to describe her. She’s neat and orderly and likes consistency and routine. Her handwriting knocks the socks off the other kids’ at this age. She lives for verbal affirmation, (with the flip side being super sensitive to even sorta kinda mentioning something critical about what she might maybe have sorta kinda done and/or said). She’s my tough cookie, the one I’m gonna have to have my ear on during the teen years.

Arianna, well she just kinda dances from one thing to the next. She will do this 4th kid thing that if she’s talking to you and you happen to look away, she’ll put her hand on your cheek and turn your face back to her. Her accent is super funny, and it’s enough entertainment to simply listen to her talk about things. She notices lots of detail though — stories can take a while (you’ve been warned).

Ethan… He will WEAR YOU OUT. He’s currently out of his bed because HE BROKE THE TODDLER GUARD RAIL. Busted his lip in two places, and may have done something to a top front tooth. He’s adorable but man, there is no break with that kid. He also happens to know he’s funny. Ethan, say ‘football!’ (grins) “SOCCER BALL!!!!” Ethan, how old are you? (grins) “I SIX!!!” No, you’re two.’ “No I SIX!” ‘Ethan, what’s your name?’ “I Arianna!” TOTAL TEASE.

And me, I’m just trying to keep my head above water. I started doing photography on the side and that site is here: sudden movements photography. Would LOVE for you to spread the word, click like on FB here and if you’re local and wish for photos of your kids, I’m your girl. It’s rewarding and intimidating all wrapped up into one.




back to school, happy parent edition

By Moriah on September 5th, 2013

Adelaide’s first day of 1st grade, and my two 3rd graders. (We decided at the end of last year to give Drew one more foundational year, and so he is doing 3rd grade again.)






I just kept snapping pics, Drew was cracking me up. The girls picked out their clothes last night, and chose to match. (Who are you and where did you put my girls?)

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