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)

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.

the other side

By Moriah on October 23rd, 2012

You don’t even want to know.

Suffice it to say, yes, we’re in our new house. We finally have useful things like internet and baby gates. These two months have been some of the hardest of my life, with lots of tears shed – but it can only get better from here, right?

Also, my Nanny passed away on October 1st, in her sleep. It wasn’t a surprise and she was 89. She led a remarkable life and it would take me all day to write about all the things she did and places she went. Vangie and I took our baby boys and flew to WA for the funeral service. It was such a great trip, I’m so very thankful I was able to go, to be there. Andy’s folks drove down to help him with the other kids while I was gone.

I stayed with Dolly and that was awesome and just what I needed. A little mini-vacation smack-dab in the middle of moving! (Yeah, and when I saw my house when I got back I was sorta wishing I had stayed!)

My parents rented a moving truck and have been driving cross-country delivering the furniture and other items all of us cousins chose to keep of Nanny’s. The burial is in St. Louis (she’ll be buried next to Papa) tomorrow, and then they will drive here. It’s at a military cemetery and each burial is only allotted 30 minutes, so I decided not to undertake another trip since I was able to go to her service. I’m beyond excited my mom will be here soon to help me make sense of the utter chaos that is my half-unpacked house.

It’s going to be a slow process, I know. It’s more space and we still need several things to complete various rooms. And there’s still five little people that need clothes and food. But hopefully soon I can share a couple of pictures and projects that are being done now. After I dig out my camera cord, which is somewhere.

Sorry about the long silence. I just didn’t have the energy or motivation to come here and discuss the misery that is moving with 5 small children. So on to better things!


By Moriah on September 1st, 2012

This fabric looked so pretty hanging down, I decided to snap a quick picture. This is a little sneak peek into a project I’m doing for the girls’ new room.

We did the pink n’ green thing for a long while so I’m changing it up in our new house. I think this is the only photo I’m gonna post until the whole room is done. Heh.

And the house is coming along really nicely and pretty quickly. Andy keeps stopping in over there and always has new iphone photos to show me. We picked out the washer/dryer on Thursday. TOP LOADER.


More of our story

By Moriah on October 28th, 2010

Since my blog is public, there are things that I can’t and won’t share here. Things that have become common knowledge, however, (or that I’d say out loud at a coffee shop – HT to J’net) I feel comfortable writing and blogging about.  I’m all for openness and honesty, when appropriate; our lives are not always roses.  One of those things now getting the green light is that a little while back Andy resigned from his position at the restaurant.

There were a number of personal reasons, none of which ultimately matter; we simply needed to move on.  There were SO many little God-things, nudging, pointing, directing our path.  Only problem is that it’s taken longer for other things to settle, and we’ve needed lots of extra grace and patience.  (Thank goodness grace doesn’t just, like, run out.)

So we’re beginning to feel the pinch; starting to look around and determine what is absolutely necessary.  God’s provision has been over-abundant so far and we have everything we need for today.  I know that He will not fail us, even as we wonder at the next step.

I feel compelled to share this little story because it’s such a picture of what these last two months have been like.  Our dental insurance is set to expire at the end of this month.  Of course I kept forgetting to call for possible appointments for Andy and me and HERE IT IS, the end of October.  I finally called yesterday morning and explained our situation.  The receptionist said “well you’re in luck because I have a cancellation open for today and one for tomorrow!”

I took the first available appointment, yesterday afternoon.  I can hardly remember the last time I went to the dentist, definitely before Drew was born.  The technology now is pretty amazing – they found 3 tiny cavities before they were really an issue.  But my heart sank.  Surely there was no way they’d be able to fit me back in for fillings before the end of this month.

I pretty much shrugged my shoulders: oh well.

She said she’d be right back.

The next thing I know she’s looking in my eyes and said “we’re going to do them today.”  And that was that!  I had all three teeth filled less than an hour and a half later.  Sure, we have a bill with co-pays.  But it’s less than a third of what it would have been in a mere couple of days.  (And let’s just pray Andy has none.)

Anyway, so yeah.  Trying not to stress.  Keeping my eyes fixed on TODAY.  Trusting that He hasn’t led us this far to drop us off a cliff.  It’s hard, too, because of that tricky balance between finding the perfect job and taking what’s available.  And furthermore, he needs something flexible enough he can continue his master’s program in music (the end goal).  I can’t remember if I ever mentioned he started that this semester.

Pray with us?

And it’s up!

By Moriah on June 30th, 2010

Yesterday, ALL BY MYSELF, I drug the remaining top-bunk box down from the attic, and started getting the bed set up. Andy had to pick up an extra bolt (one of the included ones was stripped or something) on his way to work, but we were able to finish last night. The kids were so excited they barely paid attention to their bedtime story.


(That photo doesn’t show the depth well, but it’s really a full on the bottom and a regular-sized twin on top.)

Arianna slept in there, too, in the crib. She woke up once (at 2 a.m.), nursed, and then slept the rest of the night.

(And there was much rejoicing.)

So, remember the bathroom?

By Moriah on May 22nd, 2010

We went from this:


To this:






(I usually have white yarn bath mats but they get dirty-looking so easily. I finally got some darker ones at BB&B.)

The new tub:


The crumbled wall I showed you at the top of this post (looks a little different now):




That’s right! I finally got my lazy rear into gear and painted the trim in the bathroom. It’s not a perfect paint job (still some problem areas from the silicone caulk) but hey, it’s DONE.

Clothing Upcycle

By Moriah on May 21st, 2010

I had this top I found at Tar-jay a few years ago, and although cute, the square neckline was always too awkward with straps (ahem). And wearing a tank under it just looked awkward.

original top

I nearly tossed it onto my giveaway pile but then realized I could make a cute top out of if for my girls. It fits both Madeline and Adelaide and probably would fit the baby as a dress.

recycled top

I basically cut off the bodice, sewed a casing (with a ruffle!) and fed elastic through it, and then tacked in some ribbons. It probably took a half an hour. Now I’m finding myself looking around for other things to upcycle!

What I’ve been up to (don’t look so bored)

By Moriah on May 19th, 2010

[I’m gonna try not to be all mopey-ho-hum-I’m-not-feeling-good.  Never easy, but I’m gonna try. (Name that movie.)]

The past few days are a little bit of a blur.  I do remember meeting friends for kids’ night at CFA last night and that was a sanity saver.  Sometimes you just got to leave the house, you know?

Also, Andy finished half the new flooring in the attic last weekend and doubled the space up there.  I got cranky about the storage tubs being crammed in Drew’s room (brought down to create room for the project) and carried all of them back up to the attic myself.  (Well, all except my sisters’ monster tubs that only Hercules could lift.)

And surprise surprise, I hurt my back.  (I can hear my mom dialing my phone right about now.)  It’s much better today.  Yes, I should have known.  But even so, I would have done it again.

It’s sooooo nice having all that extra storage space.  He also fixed the ladder.  It’s great being able to just toss stuff up there that feels in my way.  (Like the huge stuffed Tigger and Eyeore, for instance.)  Storage really is key in a too-small house.

Along that vein, I obviously don’t have space for a craft or sewing room here.  I usually haul my sewing machine to the dining room table to work.  Which is fine for when I’m actually sitting there bending over something, but annoying if it’s mealtime and there’s nowhere to put either the machine or the fabric or anything else. Except for maybe on the floor or in a corner somewhere. Still annoying.

So, I bought myself a cabinet with sliding doors and it’s the perfect size.  And the kids know it’s OFF LIMITS.  Meet my new “sewing room”:

sewing cabinet

It looks a little like a fun-house picture, I know. It’s at the end of the hallway and I was crammed right next to it trying to take a photo. If the baby wasn’t asleep in my room, I could have gotten a more true-to-life pic by standing in my room with the lights on. So you’ll just have to use your imagination. (The bottom shelf fits my machine easily, even though it looks really short in the photo.)

Welp, my computer time is up and I have a sink-full o’ dishes. I’ll catch y’all in the morning.

A ruffle or twenty

By Moriah on April 28th, 2010

I spent naptime yesterday making some ruffle pants to go with a shirt I bought for Adelaide months and months ago.




I hadn’t made anything in a while and it was so fun to bust out the machine again.

The fact that it’s Spring is purely coincedental

By Moriah on March 19th, 2010

Wednesday was not a great day. I pretty much spun my wheels, so to speak, up until we left the house for supper at church. After that I was good to go. (Maybe I should leave the house sooner, hm?)

But yesterday we finally got around to hauling several things up to the attic and while I was at it, I cleaned out some stuff. It created a LOT more space. (Yay!) Andy’s parents had brought us a twin mattress for the top bunk of the girls’ bed (to be used later on) and I needed to make room for it. Which got the attic project rolling. (Don’t you love how these things begin?)

Let me just say, it is SO NICE to clean a bunch of junk out of an attic. It was getting to the point where we’d have to crawl awkwardly around everything congregating at the top of the ladder, which is just not helpful when you can’t see around a huge, usually heavyish box.)

I also hauled a broken little white armoire down to the street to create more space in the hall nook. I’m finding myself craving more open space lately, probably because our house is tiny and full of people who like to spread their clutter.

So I think I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as the big house projects go.

Just in time for Spring!

I don’t have time to think up a title

By Moriah on March 12th, 2010

I thought my sling was in the van and it wasn’t. I met some girlfriends last night for a friend’s birthday dinner and Arianna screamed half the time. I tried several things, she just wouldn’t calm down.

I ended up leaving and she fell asleep in the van, in my arms. I cautiously carried her back in and sat down, and was at least able to finish my dinner (even though it was awkward). I was kicking myself the whole time that if I just had my sling! Life, you roll with it.

Of course when I put her in the car to go home, she looked up at me with this huge grin. HUGE. I had to laugh. (And call her a stinker.)

Changed into my pj’s when I got home and painted the first coat on several of my kitchen cabinet doors. I want to find a black valance for over the window (I promise, that makes sense!) and then I’ll post some photos. I peeked around the interweb last night and didn’t find anything — so I might be making one myself. Hobby Lobby run later today?

So I’m off to enjoy coffee with my in-laws before they drive home. Ciao!

A Two-Second Post

By Moriah on March 4th, 2010

I’ve been flying around this week feeling like a headless chicken, if I’m honest. I pulled all the outgrown clothes and baby items down from the attic this afternoon and have an absolute mess in my living room. Hopefully pricing and tagging won’t take too long and I can get this stuff to the consignment drop-off SOON.

I just wanted to say (and remind myself) that I KNOW I still haven’t made all the return visits from the delurker day, and I WILL get to it eventually. In-laws are coming next week for the final stage of the kitchen renovation (countertops came in this week!) and with this kids’ sale and some other things going on, it’s just a little bit crazy right now. Bear with me!

I mean really

By Moriah on February 19th, 2010

This is why I have a blog. So I can show you what I stay up half the night making!

Like this dress… which will actually be paired with a long-sleeved tee and black leggings (and not, you know, jammies):




It occurred to me only very recently to dress my girls differently ON PURPOSE. Their personalities are so different, so why not dress them to fit each girl’s personality? (Madeline’s hand-me-downs haven’t really worked for Adelaide, anyway.)

And since Adelaide is quite the quirky kid (more on that in a later post; it’s still simmering), I’ve had a lot of fun making her a bunch of unique dresses. I loved the 1950’s dresses on this fabric. (Sidenote to Brite, this one I lined.)


Drew’s at school and Andy has the girls helping him do yard work outside this morning, so I actually have time to sit here and blog! He (meaning Drew) got his first G.I. Joe yesterday. He calls it his “big boy toy.”

It dawned on me last week that he still mostly just has his toddler toys and was very obviously getting bored (and therefore naughty). Any other “big boy toy” recommendations you have for me?

(You know, that don’t have small pieces that I would inevitably step on in the middle of the night…)

A sneak peek

By Moriah on February 10th, 2010


The facelift continues

By Moriah on February 9th, 2010

Andy and I had an appointment this morning for the new countertops! We picked everything out (including sink and faucet), and purchased paint and knobs. I am SO excited. We also decided to install the countertops ourselves. (Should be interesting. But the price difference was significant and we’re cheap.)

I finished the dining room paint last night. We had several cracks repaired and there was also some, um, artwork that needed to be painted over. It’s rainy and gray here today, a perfect opportunity to finally paint my kitchen.

But I need to don my jammies first…

Phase 2, Complete

By Moriah on February 8th, 2010

(Tap, tap, tap.  Is this thing on?)

The drywaller finished up on Saturday morning, and the kitchen is all primed and ready for paint! I haven’t pulled it down from the attic yet; still crossing my fingers it hasn’t dried out. (I’m using leftover paint from when my mom and I stripped the wallpaper in the dining room four-ish years ago.) But still, getting closer!!!

I ran some errands with the kids in the freezing cold on Saturday and then Sarah had us over for supper and playtime after naps. It sort of felt like a daycare, what with the eight (EIGHT!) kids between the two of us. It was a busy and fun day but our house is still trashed, and here it is Monday.

I also made two dresses for Adelaide this weekend (SO CUTE!), and a skirt for Madeline with the extras. I still need a few things for finishing touches and then I’ll post some photos.

On a totally un-related note (except for the fact that she’ll wear one of the dresses to the Valentine’s Tea we’re invited to on Saturday), what are some fun things you like to do with your kids for Valentine’s Day?

Three Months!

By Moriah on January 29th, 2010

Arianna is three months old today, can you believe it?!


A couple of quick updates… our bathroom is about 95% finished. I just have to paint the trim (it’s primed) and touch up the walls in a few spots. I’m thinking about painting the ceiling though, while I’m at it. (It could really use a fresh coat, especially since they fixed a crack and it’s an obvious color difference.) I also have to re-hang the curtain.

This morning we had the drywall man come and look at the kitchen and they’ll be here this afternoon! It should only take a couple of days since it’s really not that much. He’s going to have the cracks in our dining room filled in also. (Which means I’ll be swimming in paint next week.)

I’ve also been doing a lot of sewing and just generally trying to keep up with my kids and the laundry. Andy’s going to the church men’s retreat tonight so my sister is coming over and we’re going to have us a little sleepover. The kids are EXCITED. Should be fun.

Have a great weekend!

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