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China bound!

It’s official, we are leaving in a week! Hallelujah! The last approval arrived on Thursday, and then I worked like a mad lady to get our airline tickets and itinerary taken care of. Family Day is on Nov 24, and we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving and our 11th wedding anniversary in China! I can’t think of anything better.  Our precious son will be in our arms after 11 sleeps!

I will be taking several months of time off after we bring our son home.  I will probably be slow to answer emails, but will begin taking on newborn sessions sometime in the first few months of the New Year.  Thank you for your support as we grow our family again, and I am especially grateful for those of you who are praying for us!

SHOOT MY KIDS! is going online!

I am so tickled to announce that the SHOOT MY KIDS! Workshop will soon be available online!  The first Online Workshop is scheduled for Saturday evening, November 10th at 7pm EST.  The Workshop will cover all of the same information as the in-person Workshops, but is now available for moms across the country that can’t meet in person.  And the participants in this first Online Workshop are eligible for a discounted Workshop fee of $74 (with a cap of 10 attendees).  If you would like more details, head on over to the SHOOT MY KIDS! Workshop website with the link below.  And if you’d like to register for the first Online Workshop, CLICK HERE!


The newest American citizen!

I am so pleased and proud to introduce our daughter, the newest American citizen!
Our Beautiful Sunshine!
Born May 27, 2010
in Fuzhou City, Jiangxi, China
Adopted June 7, 2011
We got home last night and everyone is doing really great! We are a bit (ok, a lot) sleepy, but are so ecstatic to be home again! Thank you again for all of your support during such a special time for our family!

I’m leaving for CHINA!

We leave tomorrow to go get our girl! I am so ecstatic but also sad to say goodbye to Peyton and Ryan at the same time. When I look at that pretty little face below, it definitely helps put my mind at ease! It’s amazing that all of the work we have been doing for the past year (actually, over a year!) is finally coming to a culmination … our ADOPTION TRIP … the goal we have been working toward for SO LONG! Holy cow, I’m going to CHINA and I’m coming back with another beautiful daughter! It’s still hard to wrap my brain around that … maybe I’ll “get” it when I am on the plane?

Some housekeeping … I plan to return to shooting sessions in July – I know the clients I need to contact when I get home to schedule and I promise I’ll take care of you when I return! I ask for your patience in my responding to email when I get home, I’m just not sure how we will transition. I’ll be working a little lighter than usual through the summer but plan to get back into the swing of things in the Fall – just in time for Fall Mini’s!
Thank you so much to ALL of my readers, seriously from the bottom of my heart to the top of it, for all of the love and support you have shown me during this process! It’s been crazy and long, sometimes frustrating but always joyful … and now the REAL work begins. Please, please, please follow our adoption trip on my PERSONAL BLOG!! I am all set up with a VPN and should have no problems blogging in China. And even if I do have issues, a very wonderful friend has offered to blog for me if needed (I just love her!!). The pictures won’t be quite as plentiful as usual (no Macbook in China), but I promise you’ll be able to still get the idea! Also, I’d love for you to follow along in our prayer schedule – it’s based on what we are doing each day in China. HERE’S THE LINK with the information.

My personal top 30 of 2010

I already shared this post on my personal blog but thought it would be fun to post it here too so you can see a few snippets of my life 🙂 A lot of these are just snapshots, but I think oftentimes they mean the most!
I tried really, really, really hard to get this “Top” list down to 20 images but it just wasn’t even coming close to happening. I got the list down to 40 and the was somehow able to shave off 10 more … hence my favorite top 30. These are in order from January – December to kind of “tell the story” of the 2010. So without further adieu … #1 – one of my absolute favorites of Peyton – we were showing off her new hair cut and somehow ended up with one of the best. shots. ever. (especially in sepia).

#2 – another favorite – it was an amazingly warm day for January, so we headed outside to the swing set. I wanted to try out a new b&w action I had bought, so this beautiful image was born 🙂

#3 – I don’t think anyone will be forgetting THIS blizzard anytime soon.

#4 – just another average day at home – we were playing with moonsand and it was *everywhere* but the kids had a blast.

#5 – my pink boots! These are kind of a symbol for a lot of things and remind me of my Dad, so they had to be included.

#6 – Peyton in this gorgeous red velvet dress that my very-talented mom made (seriously – she is VERY talented and I feel so very blessed to have her in my life for more reasons than 1!)

#7 – my new self-portrait at 30, the wrinkles and all 🙂 I guess 30 isn’t so bad … lots of really amazing blessings this year so it’s impossible to complain.

#8 – my little lovebug doing what he does – he has an obsession with hats AND trains … so this just fits him perfectly.

#9 – Ok, this one is for my Dad – Ryan unfortunately isn’t a huge fan of this hat (go figure) but it’s adorable anyway.

#10 – Ryan again – my attempt at some Easter portraits didn’t yield a ton, but at least I got this beautiful shot of him. Looking back at this, he has grown up a lot over this year!

#11 – another new favorite of Peyton. Believe it or not, this was my test shot to make sure my settings were correct before I handed the camera over to my Dad to take our dossier pictures, which leads us to #12!

#12 – the storyboard I made out of our dossier portraits. My Dad took these for us and our really (there aren’t words for) awesome neighbor, Suzi, made the kids laugh perfectly. These were the *easiest* family portraits we have ever done!

#13 – this pretty much sums up the first 5-6 months of the year – paper-chasing for our dossier.

#14 – Peyton’s “Big Sister” charm from Jiayin Designs was her 5th birthday present (added information here – I just got my charm with Sunshine’s Chinese name and it’s just beautiful).

#15 – Peyton’s 5-year pictures on the beach. We surprised the kids with a trip to OC the morning we left – we were already packed and ready to go. It was really awesome.

#16 – when I took this, Zach and I knew instantly that this shot would become “let’s sit down and show your boyfriend all of your childhood photos” bribery material. I still totally think that. LOL. Poor thing took a really nasty fall in OC and had a busted lip for about a week!

#17 – My gorgeous son holding a zucchini from our garden this year! It’s a shame he won’t actually *eat* any of the veggies we grew but at least I got several really cute pictures of him anyway!

#18 – one of my all-time favorites from 2010. Zach was smart enough to take the camera from me and shoot a few pictures. I’m so grateful he did that because I just adore this shot.

#19 – bedhead – this sums up my goofy, “funny guy” son.

#20 – this one is also a perfect summary of Peyton. When she’s home during the day with Ryan, she is ALWAYS getting into something – she has quite the imagination and Ryan is happy to oblige her by joining in. I think they were headed off to school or something. I’m not sure why she wanted to “go” to school in the summer though.

#21 – actually GOING to school on the first day of Kindergarten. This breaks my heart but makes me so proud all at the exact same time. Being a parent is so weird sometimes.

#22 – another shot I really love! We were heading out for Zach’s birthday and I actually had makeup on and looked nice, so I asked my Dad to snap a few of me and Zach. So glad he did!

#23 – just another day home with my Ry Guy. At first I really didn’t like having Peyton gone everyday, but it’s grown on me. It gives me some 1-on-1 time with just Ryan … and even that time is fleeting!

#24 – another attempt at a family picture for the dossier. We were at Clark’s Elioak Farm and had such a fun time. Of course you wouldn’t know it by Angel’s face but that’s kind of typical for her with family shots so really it’s just perfect.

#25 – another new favorite of Peyton, gosh she’s beautiful! This was a product shot for the very-talented Melanie Pizzini of Mel’s Crocheted Creations.

#26 – best friends. This is Johnny, our neighbor, and he’s pretty much the coolest. We can’t wait to see how their friendship grows as they get older.

#27 – the Aquarium! We had such a great day – no school, no work, just us. Zach had taken off for our I-800 fingerprinting and we spent the whole day hanging out. It rocked and we need many more days like this.

#28 – the last family picture we needed for our dossier! Finally! Our awesome neighbor, Suzi was behind the camera again on this one – she really rocks! The kids always smile with her!

#29 – Ryan’s 3rd birthday. I mentioned earlier that my Mom was super-talented. Now you can see another one of her talents – check out this cake!

#30 – probably the best photo to sum up all of 2010. Although we had so much fun as a family and saw so many blessings throughout the year, we were constantly working toward our daughter in China. We didn’t know who she was, but we knew God was leading us. Amazingly, we got to “meet” our daughter through pictures right before Christmas this year. And here is our final 2010 portrait – of our beautiful family of 5.

So there you have it … a year in my life 🙂 And what a really wonderful year. I mean really wonderful. So, so, so many blessings. So much to be thankful for. So many reasons to praise God. Thank you again to all of my clients – each and every one of you has a special place in my heart. I am so grateful to be able to have a “job” that I truly love. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.