hale {family}

Christina and I met when we worked EFY for the summer in College. The first time we met we wrestled.... and that's how I knew our friendship was meant to be. :)  She likes to rub it in my face that she got boys and I got girls, but truly I can't think of a better mom for these cute boys.




Poulsen {family}

We had to reschedule this shoot 3 different times because of rain, and wouldn't you know it-- it rained this day too! We decided to go for it, and it couldn't have been more beautiful.


Happy Day


Because of Him, I have these beautiful kids forever. Because of Him, goodbyes are never forever. Because of Him, I can be an imperfect mother, wife, friend and person and still succeed because He consecrates my righteous efforts. Because of Him I can find hope to keep trying. You can too. He has conquered all.

Happy Easter :)


details {photo tip}

The past month has been rough for our family, it's been sickness non-stop. Our sweet baby girl was admitted to the hospital for several days with RSV and a high fever, and was within an inch of being transported to Primary Children's Hospital. Thankfully, the doctors were able to control her fever and get her oxygen and dehydration under control.  All her siblings (and myself) also got RSV, had high fevers, ear infections, pink eye and a bout of pneumonia. It's been rough.

BUT. One thing that photography helps me do is find the beauty in hard situations, because I believe there is always beauty when you look for it.  I want to remember the hard things that make me who I am and that make me a better mother and person. I want to remember how I sat in the hospital chair for 4  days straight and never left her side, staring at her perfect face and praying that her little body would fight the infection.  I want to remember how I became fast friends with the nurses who took amazing care of my babe, and ordered grilled cheese and shakes with them at midnight to pass the time. I even want to remember how it broke my heart every time they suctioned her little lungs or when they searched for her little dehydrated veins for over an hour and a half... twice.

I of course didn't take pictures during those times where I needed to be present for her, but once she was stable and I knew she was okay, I photographed the details, and I'm so glad I did.

DSC_1508blogDSC_1531blogIMG_5615DSC_1750DSC_1445DSC_1466DSC_1706DSC_1495 DSC_1592DSC_1693DSC_1467blogDSC_1600DSC_1671Take pictures! Even of the hard times you don't think you want to remember. The details are a very important part of the story.

It's my story, and it's her story. I'll keep her memories for her until she's ready to keep them herself.  <3



This blue eyed angel is 2 months old now and I have loved taking more pictures with my camera at home than I usually do.

She is growing so quickly and our family is so smitten with her.

She was blessed on Sunday, but it is us who are blessed to have her.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


This year has been challenging, but I am forever grateful for these beautiful children we've been blessed with.

I would sacrifice the world for them... and in some ways it feels like I already have. They are my everything.


Merry Christmas! <3

ps-- has everyone watched Star Wars? We haven't ... yet. I sheepishly admit that I haven't ever actually seen Star Wars (though I admittedly have slept through it a few times).. so Bryan and I are having a Star Wars marathon before going to the new one. I'm not going to run out and buy myself Star Wars figurines yet, ;)  but I admit I'm enjoying myself! Now I get where all the famous lines have come from! ha!

Wren {birth}

I'm going to indulge myself and be personal here for a brief post or two.

When Bryan and I were first married I had a reoccurring dream about a baby girl with lots of dark hair. The details are foggy now, but I never forgot the feeling I had when I held her and how much I loved her and knew she was supposed to be ours. I had the dream several times... over and over. After I had 3 basically bald (but beautiful ;) ) babies, the dream left my mind and I was swallowed up in motherhood and life.

The path to having another baby wasn't an easy one for me this time. There were many challenges and road blocks to overcome, mostly my own selfishness and weaknesses...but Bryan and I always knew there was another baby for us, so we took the leap of faith.

The night after we had her, I went to the NICU in the middle of the night to feed her. While I was nursing her, I looked down at her and was overwhelmed with the feeling that she was the baby in my dream so many years ago. I cried while I held her.  She is a very clear sign that I am on the path intended for me, which was such a gift for me to feel.  She is worth every struggle.

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As a photographer, having birth photos is a really important part of the birth experience for me. I had a photographer lined up this time, knowing she wouldn't be allowed in the surgery, but hoping she'd be there when I came out and be able to stay until the kids came up to visit to see their baby sister for the first time. As most things in life though, it didn't turn out exactly like I had planned. :)

Our c-section was pushed back, and then took a while once we got started due to significant scar tissue (a gift from 4 c-sections). I warned the anesthesiologist before the surgery began that I had a tendency to throw up during the surgery, and sure enough-- I started feel nauseous while they were operating. He gave me something and it helped for a few minutes. After what seemed like forever (I could smell them burning my flesh, yikes), the baby was out and I couldn't believe it when I heard them all saying she had lots of hair! After a few minutes they showed the baby to me briefly and then she and Bryan left to the nursery and they finished up my surgery. While I was still laying  the operating table I had sharp terrible pains in my shoulder. I called for the anesthesiologist and he told me that they were air pockets from taking my uterus out and then putting it back in and there wasn't much he could do for those. I remembered having them in the past.. but this time it was so so so painful.

After the surgery was finished, I went to recovery and waited for my baby. Only.. she didn't come. The longer I sat there, the worse I began to feel and I couldn't figure out what was taking them so long.  I felt bugged, because when I had Graham at the U of U hospital, they let me hold him skin to skin on my chest during recovery-- they never took him from me for the first few hours... but this time, I hadn't even gotten a good look at her yet. By the time they took me to my room, I was feeling very nauseous and was in a lot of pain. Shortly after that I began throwing up which was so painful and irritating to my incision. They started pushing the drugs fast to help with the pain and nausea, so by the time they brought the baby in (at least 2 hours after I had had her) I could barely lift my head to get a look at her. I had about 10 minutes with her, when a nurse came in and told us that she didn't look good and whisked her away again.

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We eventually got word that Wren was having trouble breathing and would be in the NICU for the next few days at the least to make sure she didn't have any infections and to find out why she was having trouble breathing.  I was worried and so sad that I hadn't gotten to spend very much time with her yet. I was also so sad that my kids wouldn't be able to come up, but I wasn't feeling well enough to see them anyway.

By 2 or 3 in the afternoon I couldn't wait any longer and made Bryan wheel me into the NICU with my catheter and IV bags in tow to see our baby and make sure the name we had picked felt right so we could tell our kids and family.  As soon as I got her in my arms I knew I was about to throw up, and the NICU nurse had to grab the nearest garbage can and got to me just in the nick of time. She latched right on though and was truly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.. even with the oxygen and IV tubes.

The NICU experience was hard and beautiful at the same time. I wanted to have her with me 100% of the time, and felt so sad that things didn't go as planned, but the time we spent in that little room together was special in it's own way and I'm forever grateful.  The day after she was born the kids got to come up and go in to see the baby one at a time. They were all in love with her. We weren't all together as a family until after we came home from the hospital. Wren didn't have any infections and eventually started breathing on her own, once she figured out how to eat and breathe at the same time, so after lots of ups and downs, we got to bring her home with us after 4 days in the NICU. We felt so blessed that she was healthy enough to come home with us.

Her birth video is a conglomeration of photos from my friend Helga Laing (helgalaing.com), Bryan, myself, and my sister Holly- who came over and took the ones of us once we got home. It's a pretty real (sometimes less than pretty) representation of how her birth went. There's always beauty in the struggle.  It's something I will always treasure.


We adore you, baby girl.

Wren Hope

Wren Hope Stoddard :)


She's here! As seems to be the story with me, the c-section was difficult and things went differently than I planned. Wren spent the first several days in the NICU having a hard time breathing and keeping her oxygen levels up.  It crushed me not to have her with me in our room, and I spent as much time in the NICU with her as possible.  After a few days and lots of tests, she began keeping her oxygen up on her own and we were able to take her home.

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This baby has been a true delight and gift from heaven.

My heart has been so full, I don't even have the words yet to express my feelings.  I'm just so grateful she is ours.

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I am healing, and taking time to memorize her perfect face.  She is my Hope. <3

32 weeks

DSC_0584blog We can officially say she's coming next month... but that's a little misleading because we still have 8 weeks to go. :) She should come at the end of October and the kids are so excited they can't stand it. Us too! 32 weeks down.

claire {kindergrten}

It was *finally* Claire's turn to start Kindergarten today! She's been driving us both crazy all week waiting for her turn.

 We were both totally thrilled, and she jumped on that bus happily and never looked back. :)


Claire and I had picked out a cute dress for her first day... that is, until she saw this shirt in the exercise section at Old Navy and she nearly died. "Mom!! It has thumb holes and a pocket for my hands in the front and it's SO comfortable!!!" ... Nothing else would do after that.  In the car on the way home I said, "I thought you wanted to wear the dress?" and she said "What can I say Mom? I'm just so much like you." :) Yes, I'd pick exercise clothes over almost anything else, she's got me pegged.  :)


She also insisted on wearing one of my "special necklaces" to school so she could think of me all day. She chose the little camera necklace and I didn't have the heart to tell her no. She is so funny. DSC_0440blog

Her little freckles and dark eye leashes kill me... Processed with VSCOcam with b5 presetIMG_1250DSC_0469blogGraham and I only wish Kindergarten lasted a little longer.. ;)

2nd grade

This little tender heart started second grade yesterday! I may be in the minority, but I'm so happy to have her back in school and can't wait until her sister joins her next week. :) Addie got her front tooth pulled at the dentist, and her little gap tooth smile kills me. Love her. :)


night sky {tips}


I am just beginning to understanding photographing the night sky... there's so much to figure out! But I've figured out a few things so far.

1. Focus manually (on any star you can see in the sky-- zoom wayyyy in and focus on a bright star manually.. then zoom back out to take the picture)

2. Tripod is a must! You can't possibly hold still enough to get a clear photo without one.

3. Try and shoot when there is no or little moon... the moon is super bright and makes it harder to get the stars.

4. Open up your Aperture (f-stop) as low as you can to let in the most light.  My settings for the picture below were: ISO 3600 F stop 2.8 Shutter speed: 30 seconds   Crank up your ISO, open your f-stop, and give yourself a long lengthy shutter speed.. bingo! :)DSC_7571blogDSC_7554DSC_8511blog


I recently flew to Portland and met up with my college roommate and fellow adventure lover, photographer, and friend. We backpacked and road tripped along the Washington Coast, just the two of us! (much to my mother's horror, lol) It was a beautiful dream come true, and an unforgettable trip. We saw the Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rainforest, backpacked and camped at Second Beach, saw Sol Duc Falls, hiked in and camped at Shi Shi beach, drove to the Cape of Flattery-- the northern tip of Washington where you could look out to BC Canada... it was incredible (we even saw a whale!). We drove along the top of Washington along the coast back down to Panther Creek Falls, and back into Oregon for night sky shots at Mt. Hood. We had so much fun. We slept on the sandy beach two nights, and in our car the other night... and yet, it was perfect. We took pictures to our hearts content and breathed the fresh air. The cool, moist air is so refreshing for me. I love it there.

Here are some of my favorite highlights :)

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While I was gone with the youth on a pioneer trek, I stayed out late to watch the stars a few nights. I've fallen in love with capturing the sky.... I'm not very good yet, but I'm slowing figuring it out.  There's just something so awesome about a perfectly still night where the stars are shining brightly and I feel so so small.  It reminds me that life is beautiful, even in the dark times.FullSizeRender-2