• children,  family

    A singing heart……

    “A singing heart, no sadness knows…gloom cannot start where gladness glows.”

    Johnny Gruelle An American artist know as the creator of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy

    When I was a little girl my great aunt Jenny made me a Raggedy Andy doll which at the time was life size. I loved to dress and undress him and I drug him with me nearly everywhere I went. It felt so good to hug him when I was scared or tired. His polka dot shirt and bright red striped legs were so playful. The yellow yarn on his head lay in a matted mess like my little golden curls. My toddler bedroom had  Raggedy Ann and Andy ceramic wall art and a mirror with them brightly colored as the frame.


    I forgot about my Raggedy dolls as I outgrew rag dolls and progressed through Barbie, Strawberry Shortcake, Smurf and Cabbage Patch Dolls. Mom folded Andy away and at sometime she picked up a giant Ann to hang out with him. They lived in a box at mom and dad’s house waiting for the day a curly haired little girl came into my life. I have welcomed three little boys into this world and the need for dolls at my house is limited to action figures and legos. While visiting my parents in Montana mom wondered if I wanted to keep Andy. The three-year-old in me did but the 30-something woman knew he needed to be loved by some other little girl. I couldn’t part with him entirely though. The poor little girl who loves them next will have to talk someone into making clothes for the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls because I found two dolls close to me to wear them.





    “Happiness is very easy to catch when we love one another and are sweet all through.” Johnny Gruelle

  • children,  family

    Miss Stella

    Miss Stella turned two at the beginning of this month. No matter the kiddo, mine or anothers, I can’t seem to grasp how quickly a year passes. I have been trying to soak in a few “moments” a day with my boys in an effort to slow time and freeze memories of each day in my head. That is what photographs do. They are as close to magic as I will ever get. Freezing sacred truths of our everyday into a treasure again and again. I am so thankful for magic.



    toes and pearls a great pairing.

    Stella and her adorable family. Can’t wait to meet her new little brother Cruz soon!





    Every little girl needs a photo of her hitching a ride on Daddy. Wish I had one like this…. I always preferred to walk and dance on his toes though.



    It was a birthday shoot after all so Stella was rewarded with a cake pop. She was the cleanest toddler I have ever seen around cake but she enjoyed it just as much.

    Love the look of wonder in her eyes…. or is that just the beginning of a sugar high. 🙂


  • family,  newborn,  Uncategorized

    fall is for family

    Fall came weeks ago when school started and all the busyness which it brings with it but fall weather came abruptly this week. I am working feverishly to get through mountains of photos of beautiful people with beautiful lives and amazing families. I am so happy to be busy now and I look forward to getting caught up so that I can slow down to soak in the fall with my own family.

    The sunshine of last week is hiding somewhere behind those clouds outside and I am pining for a few more days of indian summer before I pull out the sweaters and boots. A grey morning calls for curling up in a blanket while holding one of my boys and nursing a hot cup of coffee with cocoa in it. Since I have to get moving this morning instead of having a lazy day, I’ll post some photos of a new family of four taking a slow day to soak in all the goodness a family brings.



    Three grils as my Tommy would say. A treasure for them so see their Mama young and adoring them so.

    Look at those cheeks! LOVE.

    Sweet little pink bundle send straight from heaven.


  • family,  life,  Uncategorized

    it held a lot

    i didn’t know it was the end when I woke up yesterday.

    it seemed like any of a string of days we have had between last October and April. cold. wet. gray. sleep. repeat. but today the constants shifted. not in the weather. not in the people exactly but for the first time in over 8 years a room was missing something.

    i looked hard for it when it was time to bring it into our home so long ago. nothing too plain. nothing too modern. nothing to flimsy. it had to have a strength of style and build. clean lines and a warm presence.

    i looked hard for it again today as a blank floor sprung up in front of me. the floor was ready for something new. but i don’t know if i was ready. if i am ready.

    something new lies in its place. something aesthetically less beautiful. the new object is more functional now. i am not sure it is just the beauty of the object which has been replaced.

    there have been times today when I wished I would have known it was the end so I could have taken a photo of the last night. i am so sentimental. painfully at times.

    there have been times today when I have been grateful I didn’t know it was the end so I could just move it out quickly like removing a bandaid.

    it was in the twilight of the day, when the only noises I hear are the drip, drip, drip of a gutter which needs repaired and my typing, when I am fighting back the tears. i am trying to etch the feeling, the smell of the room, the miracles of what this object has held for me.

    it held my babies. when the day had gone and my arms, head and heart needed a rest. it held all three of my precious babies.

    the room won’t ever be the same. the paint will soon change it and the rest of the objects will scatter or disappear. an old resident will move back into the room and the current one down the hall. new memories will be etched in my heart of the room. i look forward to embracing them.

    but today i am scared of loosing the memories which have changed my soul.






  • children,  family


    February conjures up feelings and images of sweetness. From the conversation hearts and chocolate treats to everything dripping in pink and red decor. It is a relief from the dark winter days and the cold nipping at us to be wrapped in the hubbub that comes with Valentine’s Day. Even if it is a little much at times.

    I love that even though I have a house full of boys they will tolerate craft projects involving red and pink hearts and glitter for this holiday. I love that they wrinkle their noses when an ad on tv or in the newspaper shows people kissing. I love that I can let the rules about candy and sweet confections relax a little and watch their faces light up with sugar and giggles. I love that even though we are not quite to spring Valentine’s Day feels like a promise it isn’t that far away.

    Just before Valentine’s Day I got a dose of sweetness from the Cuthbert family. Little Grady was quite the charmer and adorable. Quiet Brooklyn was cautiously cheerful during the entire shoot. Mom wanted to capture their family of four as they are waiting to welcome number 5 soon. What a lucky little gent the newest Cuthbert is to be welcomed into such a loving family.

  • family,  life


    Some days were so right and some days were so wrong in 2010 and I want more to be on the right side. Every morning, I want to choose joy. To choose love. To choose learning. To choose communication. Somewhere, sometime, while trying to make a life, I have forgotten a little bit about living it. I need to embrace living again. In the moment, in the little things, in my daily routines. Soak in my blessings and let them be enough.

    So, it is time to make a change. A choice to live a little more and quite worrying about trying to make a life. Do I know exactly how to make it happen? No. All I know is it starts with making a choice. And I am pretty sure I won’t be successful everyday. But if I start living a little more each day, maybe the living in the moment, in the joy, will become more of the normal and I long for that. At church we say “Peace be with you.” I am seeking that peace.

    My hopes

    • Communicate more
    • Laugh more
    • Rest more
    • Breathe more
    • Love more
    • Have our  family photographed, by someone other than me.
    • Take an perfectly, imperfect family photograph with all five of us in it every month. Crazy, unkept, serious, dirty, laughing… however we are together, photograph it.
    • Learn to say no.
    • Learn to say yes more to the spontainious wishes of my kiddos. Mom, let’s paint. Yes! Mom, let’s go for a bike ride. You too. Yes! Mom, let’s eat cookies. Yes! Mom, let’s do nothing but play games all day. Yes!

    The list could be a mile long but then it would defeat the purpose of change for 2011. I hope to look back on 2011 and be proud to have built a stronger life by having chosen to live it fully.

    Happy New Year!

    Just a cute pic of my littlest saying goodbye to the baby jesus from one of our creches.

  • children,  family,  Senior

    a happy you…..

    Nathan was the first baby I loved. My brother is almost 9 years older than I am and he was married and starting a family before I was out of high school. Nathan was born when I was seventeen.  I can picture myself standing in my teenage bedroom bouncing, swaying and shushing him to sleep as he snuggled into my shoulder. He is sixteen, soon to be seventeen now and I wonder how the world could have changed so quickly. Lucky for me, he came to visit for a week this summer. I caught a glimpse of what my future holds with three boys of my own. I am thankful I have gotten to watch him mature and it somehow makes each stage of motherhood a little less scary because he has gone before my own.

    Markus is nine-months older than my oldest son Keith. He was born just as I was getting used to the idea of the miracle of a baby in our life. Markus spent a week with us this summer too. (Not the same week as his brother) Markus was a perfect fit around here. He and all of my boys played hard from dawn till dark giggling, running and wrestling each other. I wish he could live down the street so they could play together all the time.

    They didn’t get to where they are without their parents. Which is really the reason I am writing this post. Their  mama, Dayleen celebrates a birthday today. I am ALWAYS late in sending her a birthday gift. I feel awful and often blame it on the Columbus Day postal holiday but the truth is I just always want to get her the perfect gift to show her how much I truly love her and enjoy her company. So, I started early this year. Happy you, Dayleen! (Happy you is the way Keith used to tell people happy birthday when he began to talk. It stuck like glue and happy you now means happy birthday or our gift to you at the Blau haus.)

    Time, treasure and talent. These are the things we are supposed to share with the world. With each other. So when her boys came to visit this summer, I photographed them. I spent most of my time enjoying them but for a few minutes I stopped time so that she can remember her boys as they are now. Stopping time. Thank goodness we have photographs to save little moments of our lives for safe keeping.

  • children,  family

    just plain yummy

    It must be their Italian names. Vinny. CiCily. Gianna. Their family name, Orizotti.

    I love the energy of this family. They are fierce, loving and silly at times. I have been searching for something to liken them to. Trying to mold a description which would accurately portray them.

    Forgive me. The one thing I can’t get out of my mind is, gelato. You know, the beautiful Italian confection which is a higher quality dessert than ice cream with a richer, fuller flavor. Yeah, gelato. The Orizotti’s are like gelato. A richer, more flavorful family, each member enhanced by the other. The time I spent with them was yummy from start to finish. How could I not have fun with beautiful kiddos like these three to photograph.

    Here is one of my favorites from the shoot.

    Thank you so much for a fun morning. Next time let’s get gelato and savor the memories we’ve captured!  To enjoy more of the images from the Orizotti’s session CLICK HERE for a slideshow!

  • family

    everyone needs a little magic

    It was crumpled in a ball amongst a sea of carpet and toys, but I knew that it wasn’t trash. The cherry red color with white writing would take anyone back to the sweetness of childhood. I picked it up thinking I would throw it away, but stopped myself. I unfurled the waxy paper to search for the treasure I knew was there. The eagle feathers, the bow and arrow, the star….the magic. The reason Tommy couldn’t throw it away either.

    Because even though, we all know the legend of a free Tootsie Pop  isn’t true, we still hope we find the indian shooting a star. Because even though, we are scared to dream big dreams, in our heart we hold fast to them. Because no matter our age, we all need a little magic.

  • children,  family

    Happy Brother’s Day

    Tommy is my character. He is passionate about just about everything, for better or worse. A grumpy, little man on Mother’s day he proclaimed, “I wish it was Brother’s Day,” while we were getting loaded up to go celebrate the day with John’s mother and grandmother.

    It was love at first sound for me. I didn’t let on right away, though. “Thomas, we take time at different times of the year to celebrate the people we care about. Now, get in your seat and put your car seat straps on!”, are words that likely came out of my mouth. I know I also told him Brother’s day was a good idea, because he was lucky to have two brothers in his life.

    I googled it in May and didn’t come up with a date I was happy with. In my mind it had to be a summer date, so my boys can have a great summer memory to hold onto.

    While drafting this post, I googled it again and found a facebook page (of course I did, right?) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brothers-Day/80359246817 which claims Brother’s Day is observed on the Friday, following the first new moon, after August 1st. There is also a celebration on August 11th hosted by Widmer Brothers Brewing as a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbian Northwest. It turns out that in 2008, with the help of the Widmer Brothers, the state of Oregon and the city of Portland proclaimed August 11 a holiday.

    The crummy Pacific Northwest weather has been putting a crimp in my brother’s day plans. I refused to have our holiday on a dreary, gray day. You can’t break out a new slip-n-slide and mondo water guns in the drizzle. I don’t want the brothers to lose interest in sleeping outside, because they are freezing.  I would have loved to have jumped on the local band wagon for the 11th, but I wasn’t willing to have Brother’s day without some heat.

    Well, I got my heat today. And we started the morning like this.

    I have had these pancake molds set aside since May waiting for Brother’s day to surprise my guys. Every time I make pancakes they ask me to make them a Yoda pancake. Every time, until this morning, the Yoda I would come up with was a very sad excuse for a Yoda. Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper showed up too. If you have little Star Wars nuts at your house you can find these awesome pancake molds at Williams-Sonoma.

    Then they gave each other cards they had drawn. Tommy’s passion came out in its sweetest form, in the 12 cards he made for Keith and his 5 cards for Greg. One just wasn’t enough to show them how much he loved them. I adore that about him.

    After breakfast had settled, and a few legos masterpieces were constructed, I went outside and got a new slip-n-slide ready and opened new super soaker water guns. When they came out with their swimsuits on, they were surprised to see the slide and huge water guns and wasted no time finding water.

    These are the only photos I will post with all three of the brothers in them, because an almost two-year-old is tooooooooo busy to stay in one place for more than almost 2 seconds.

    The rest of the day entailed lunch, cartoons, more water play…..this time with Mom sliding and getting soaked, dinner, ice cream, a movie, popcorn, board games, a story and then…..

    sleeping for the first time in a tent. Yeah! I think I am more excited about it than them. I LOVED sleeping in a tent in my backyard as a kid and hope they have a blast tonight.