Member, Professional Photographers of America

The Power of Play

Time spent playing with children is never wasted.
— Dawn Lantero

As a former early childhood education instructor I have not only heard about the many benefits of playing with young children, but I have also witnessed it firsthand within the school setting as well as at home in a personal setting with my own children. In today’s society it is not unheard of for children to spend on average four to seven MINUTES per day in unstructured play compared to nearly seven or more HOURS per day in front of a screen. I’ll be the first to admit it, my kids LOVE the screen! And that is one of the biggest reasons why I actually make my kids go play and we sign them up to play in sports leagues and attend various camps. I am a firm believer in keeping kids active and playing! For this reason I have compiled a list of the top five reasons that kids should PLAY.

One. Health. Overall, kids that play outside are physically healthier kiddos. They are running, jumping, throwing, catching, lifting, carrying, etc. All of those activities require muscles and motor skills which help prevent obesity, as well as strengthen bones and muscles. Many children now have vitamin D deficiencies and playing in the sun is an easy way to naturally build up vitamin D.

Two. Social. Unstructured play teaches kids how to share and develop positive behavioral skills. Generally speaking, they are more likely to have a greater imagination as they are being inventive, exploring, and learning about the world around them by using their own abilities. Through playing with others they are learning how to communicate and cooperate in a way that is socially acceptable. And for the parents, outside play helps reduce stress levels!

Three. Senses. Kiddos learn new things by using their senses. Just think about it for a second. A child is playing in the park and sees a dog. The kiddo typically stops to watch the dog. Many want to touch the dog. Others listen to the dog bark. That one interaction with a dog has allowed that child to learn about the world using various senses. On the other hand, those children that stay inside and watch a screen are merely using a few senses for hours. This can negatively affect the development of their perception.

Four. Attention Span. Children that regularly play outdoors are more curious and self-directed. They can stay focused on a task longer than those who do not play outdoors regularly. Studies have even shown that children diagnosed with ADHD who spend significant time outdoors exhibit fewer symptoms than the children that do not spend time outdoors.

Five. Happiness. It is a proven fact that outdoor light stimulates the pineal gland and this part of the brain is vital to keeping our immune system strong and makes us feel happier. This can improve our mood and overall happiness. And as an added bonus, those that grow up experiencing nature and more likely to grow into adults that also appreciate nature and in turn protect the environment.

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
— GB Shaw

Texas Bluebonnets!

You can tell it’s spring in Texas when you the bluebonnets are lining the highways and covering the fields. Each and every year I look forward to the colorful blooms, as so do many of my clients. A few years ago I began offering Limited Edition Bluebonnet Sessions. These are simply our regular sessions with an added complimentary item and they take place in the bluebonnets. They are extremely limited!

This year I had four wonderful families that booked these sessions! They each received a 5 x 7 gallery stand as their complimentary product with their session fee.

5 x 7 gallery stand

5 x 7 gallery stand

The Hammond’s

I met William and Victoria last year at their wedding in September. It was a gorgeous wedding! When I learned that they were expecting a little boy I was incredibly happy for them! And I was honored when they booked a Limited Edition Bluebonnet Session because they wanted maternity portraits in the bluebonnets. You can read more about their session on an earlier blog post, The Miracles Grow.

hammond-maternity-session-bluebonnets-smith-family-photography

The Thompson’s

Claudia really wanted beautiful family portraits in the bluebonnets. Fortunately, we were able to do just that after a few reschedules due to the rainy weather that seemed to ALWAYS fall on the weekends. I was honestly worried all those blooms would be gone by the time the rain stopped! Their session was windy, but not rainy!

thompson-bluebonnet-session-smith-family-photography

The Foley’s

This session was unique due to all the rainy weather we’ve had this spring. Carmen wanted two sessions for her and her favorite little guy. She wanted an Easter Mini Session and a Limited Edition Bluebonnet Session. Unfortunately, we had to reschedule the Easter Mini Session because the weather was very cold on the original date and the second time around there was actually severe weather that caused significant damage to her property and her community. At that time we decided to just do the Limited Edition Bluebonnet Session and add a few Easter images in since they wouldn’t be back to her in time for Easter. By this time there were hardly any bluebonnets remaining sadly.

foley-bluebonnet-session-smith-family-photography

The Lee’s

There was one more family that scheduled a Limited Edition Bluebonnet Session. They reside near Houston so rescheduling for another weekend was not an option. They instead asked if they could reschedule their session for a date in the summer. We’ve already been planning their session in a new location and I’m looking forward to working with them!

The Miracles Grow

September 1, 2018 William and Victoria said, “I Do,” in front of many family and friends at their wedding in Temple, Texas. You can read more about their love story and their wedding day here.

Fast forward to March 30, 2019, another special day involving their family and friends. This time they are gathering to celebrate William, Victoria and Baby Liam with a baby shower in Groesbeck, Texas. But first, they had their maternity portrait session scheduled for that morning. And the weather was calling for showers and strong winds as a cold front was projected to move into the area. But you wouldn’t know that based on the sky that particular morning.

As I was driving to the location for the session in Personville, Texas, I kept thinking to myself that the day was absolutely beautiful and William and Victoria would have a perfect conditions for their session. The sky was cloudy, but the clouds were just thin enough to filter the warm morning sunlight. No sweater or jacket was needed. The wind was not blowing. Simply put, it was a picture perfect spring day in Texas!

hammond-maternity-session-smith-family-photography

I believe all babies are miracles. William and Victoria’s life is a daily reminder of a miracle. When William was 22 years old he had a brain aneurysm. He was in a coma for two weeks. Slowly he began to heal and nearly one month later he spoke for the first time…on Victoria’s birthday. And one week later he was discharged to a rehabilitation center where he had to learn how to walk, talk, write and eat again after the aneurysm and strokes from the brain injury. William is now working on earning a degree through Texas State Technical College.

Nearly four years later, William and Victoria are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their baby boy. A miracle.

hammond-maternity-smith-family-photography-2

From looking at these maternity portraits you wouldn’t believe it, but that storm they were predicting rolled through about five minutes after their session ended. It began to rain and the cold wind blew in! Miraculously, we were able to finish their session before the storm hit!

Miracles. They surround us each and every day. When I’m around William and Victoria I am reminded of that. And for that, I am thankful.

If you don’t believe in miracles, perhaps you’ve forgotten you are one.
— unknown

Over the Years: The Leonardelli Family

The other day I was talking to my favorite person (my grandma Jo) on the phone and we ended up talking about the career paths we chose.  She was a nurse for most of her adult working years and I was an elementary school teacher for five years until I decided to resign and begin my photography business.  She told me there have been times when she thought about doing something besides nursing, but looking back now she couldn't imagine doing anything else.  She LOVED nursing!  Then she asked me what I career I would have chosen if I could start all over again.  As I thought, I honestly couldn't think of any other career choices I would have made.  

I loved teaching, but I didn't love the confines of teaching.  I loved that no two days were ever the same.  I loved having to adapt and be flexible throughout the day as different situations arose.  I loved the students and coworkers.  But I did not love the schedule.  I felt very confined.  When I decided to resign I immediately felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could now breathe freely.  

I absolutely LOVE being a photographer!  I love nearly everything about it - besides paying taxes.  I love making my own schedule.  I love creating wall art for families that will be treasured for years to come.  I love it when clients tell me that my work captures so many emotions.  But most of all I love meeting new people and connecting with them!  I love to capture them year after year and create beautiful wall art that showcases their family!  For this reason I have decided to begin a series which focuses on my loyal clients over the years titled, "Over the Years."

The Leondardelli Family

Meet the Leondardelli Family! I first met this amazing family in 2015 at a bluebonnet family session. As a matter of fact, one of my FAVORITE bluebonnet images was taken at this very session!

2015 - One of my favorite bluebonnet photos!

2015 - One of my favorite bluebonnet photos!

This particular session was important because some of their children were going to be moving away to live with their mother in another state. It was so wonderful spending time with all of them together!

In 2016 I was fortunate yet once again to spend time with them during another family session! I absolutely love Jessica’s vision that she brings to each of their sessions and I welcome the challenge of making those visions a reality for her images.

2016 - Family Session

2016 - Family Session

In 2017, Jessica and Matt asked me to photograph their upcoming wedding in August. I was honored, but shocked! I was shocked because I totally thought they were already married! I was so excited for the both of them, as well as their entire family. I just knew the wedding would be phenomenal and I was looking forward to it! You can read more about their stunning wedding on the blog.

2017 - Jessica’s Bridal Session

2017 - Jessica’s Bridal Session

2017 - Leonardelli Wedding Slideshow

In 2018, I was asked to photograph two of their children for very special events. Their daughter, Jordan, had an upcoming quincenara and their son, Jose, would be starting his senior year of high school. Two big milestones for the Leonardelli family! It was so much fun spending time with each of them on a more personal level.

2018 - Jordan’s Quincenara Session

2018 - Jordan’s Quincenara Session

2018 - Jose’s Senior Session

2018 - Jose’s Senior Session

Amazing at how much their family has changed over the past 3 years and I can’t wait to see what 2019 and beyond has in store for them!

The most precious moments of your life deserve to be captured.
— unknown

THIS IS THE SEVENTH FEATURED FAMILY IN THE "OVER THE YEARS" SERIES.  CHECK OUT OUR OTHER FEATURED FAMILIES!

  1. The Wier Family

  2. The Lopez Family

  3. Tana and Layla

  4. The Dale Family

  5. The Craven Family

  6. The Carpenter Family

Over the Years: The Carpenter Family

The other day I was talking to my favorite person (my grandma Jo) on the phone and we ended up talking about the career paths we chose.  She was a nurse for most of her adult working years and I was an elementary school teacher for five years until I decided to resign and begin my photography business.  She told me there have been times when she thought about doing something besides nursing, but looking back now she couldn't imagine doing anything else.  She LOVED nursing!  Then she asked me what I career I would have chosen if I could start all over again.  As I thought, I honestly couldn't think of any other career choices I would have made.  

I loved teaching, but I didn't love the confines of teaching.  I loved that no two days were ever the same.  I loved having to adapt and be flexible throughout the day as different situations arose.  I loved the students and coworkers.  But I did not love the schedule.  I felt very confined.  When I decided to resign I immediately felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could now breathe freely.  

I absolutely LOVE being a photographer!  I love nearly everything about it - besides paying taxes.  I love making my own schedule.  I love creating wall art for families that will be treasured for years to come.  I love it when clients tell me that my work captures so many emotions.  But most of all I love meeting new people and connecting with them!  I love to capture them year after year and create beautiful wall art that showcases their family!  For this reason I have decided to begin a series which focuses on my loyal clients over the years titled, "Over the Years."

THE CARPENTER FAMILY

Meet the Carpenter Family! I first met the Carpenter Family several years ago even before I began my photography business. Our kiddos went to the same school and played on some of the same sports teams. After a few years I opened Smith Family Photography and the Carpenter Family hired me to take newborn portraits for their first grandchild, Saira. I have taken many photos of Saira over the years, as well as family portraits for them last year…and just this week I was blessed to photograph the newest member of the Carpenter Family, Kelsie’s baby boy named David. The Carpenter Family is truly a blessing in my life! They are full of laughs and honestly genuine. I absolutely love capturing their changing family! As you can tell, families change - quickly! Children grow up way too fast and before you know it they are graduating and have kiddos of their own. The moments fly by and I am so incredibly happy that the Carpenter Family invests in family portraits and understands that they are priceless heirlooms for future generations. I am looking forward to many more sessions with this amazing family!

June 2015 - Saira is born!

June 2015 - Saira is born!

December 2015 - Saira is 6 months old!

December 2015 - Saira is 6 months old!

March 2016 - Spring Session!

March 2016 - Spring Session!

May 2016 - Kelsie is graduating!

May 2016 - Kelsie is graduating!

June 2016 - Saira is ONE!

June 2016 - Saira is ONE!

December 2016 - Christmas!

December 2016 - Christmas!

April 2018 - Family Session

April 2018 - Family Session

March 2019 - Meet David, Kelsie’s baby!

March 2019 - Meet David, Kelsie’s baby!

The days go by with so many little things that don’t seem to matter until they’re no longer there and suddenly, they’re all that ever mattered.
— Brian Andreas

THIS IS THE SIXTH FEATURED FAMILY IN THE "OVER THE YEARS" SERIES.  CHECK OUT OUR OTHER FEATURED FAMILIES!

  1. The Wier Family

  2. The Lopez Family

  3. Tana and Layla

  4. The Dale Family

  5. The Craven Family

Making a Difference, One Photo at a Time

You won’t change the world by saving an animal, but you will change that animal’s world.
— unknown

I spent the first couple of years in business trying to get up and running…just trying to survive! There’s always room for improvement and things constantly change, but as the business changed and things changed at home with two of my kiddos graduating with another graduating this year, I now had a tad more time on my hands. I felt compelled to volunteer my time to help those in need. I just wasn’t sure where to start. Then one day I was scrolling through Facebook and someone tagged me in a post. It was an post from LARAS House Shelter and they were looking for photographers to help them put a calendar together that would be used as a fundraiser for the shelter. I applied and they asked me to assist them with the calendar.

Pups used in the calendar shoot for LARAS House.

Pups used in the calendar shoot for LARAS House.

I had such a great time working with the pets and the staff at the shelter that we began going out there for fun as a family. My kids would interact and play with the cats and dogs and I would work with Kathy taking photographs of the pets. It was a great experience! Such a great experience in fact that my kids ended up falling absolutely head over heels in love with a cat named Mrs. Claus. We adopted her the day after Christmas and she has been a huge hit with our family.

Gracie with Mrs. Claus, the cat we adopted from LARAS House.

Gracie with Mrs. Claus, the cat we adopted from LARAS House.

About a month later I was contacted by the shelter and I was asked if I’d like to become a volunteer and continue taking photographs of the pets, as well as enter the cats onto sites such as Petfinder and Adopt A Pet so they’d be seen by potential adoptive families. Of course I said that I’d love to volunteer! It has been great for my kids to interact with the pets and how valuable it is to volunteer. It has been great to the pets to receive extra attention when we come and also to have photographs taken of them happy and playing. These photographs which show them happy do make a difference when potential owners see them.

Nettie was one of the first cats that I photographed. She was adopted a short time later.

Nettie was one of the first cats that I photographed. She was adopted a short time later.

If you’d like to get involved and help the pets at LARAS House, you can do so in many ways! You do not have to adopt to help the pets. You can foster or just volunteer. These pets need so much love and attention! You can also donate with monetary donations or by providing supplies. The easiest way that won’t cost you anything extra is by simply choosing LARAS House when you shop on AmazonSmile. They will donate up to 0.5% of your eligible purchases!

Meet Rosie

Check out these awesome pets I’ve worked with so far!

Cats

Dogs

Introducing *NEW* Mini Session Contests!

New for 2019…MINI SESSION CONTESTS!

I believe in offering low cost themed mini sessions for families. Most families don’t want to spend a lot of money on a full session for any holiday. They just want a few fun portraits of their kiddos to document the holiday. That’s it. Most of these portraits won’t even make it to the wall! They will be shared on social media and then placed in a file on the computer. Sad, but true.

With that being said, I LOVE these fun, quick sessions! Kids are excited and the parents are so relaxed just watching their kids have fun since it’s not a super formal session. Kids can be…KIDS!

This year I have decided to change some things up with regards to mini sessions. I want to foster a lasting relationship with the participating families and I feel like the old way of doing things was not matching my brand. Each mini session is just that, a super quick session, BUT there is a new twist! These are now mini session contests - which just means that one image from each mini session will be entered in our monthly contest. The family with the most “votes” will win a complimentary 8x10 print, as well as a complimentary mini session for the next theme.

Here is the schedule of the mini session contests for 2019:

  • February - Valentine’s Day

  • April - Easter

  • May - Seniors

  • June - Couples

  • July - 4th of July

  • August - Back to School

  • September - Pet

  • October - Halloween

  • December - Christmas

Each ten minute mini session will include your choice of two digital images and one photo from your session will be entered into the contest. The sessions are only $45 if you book during our special pre-booking events or $50 if you book during a regular booking event.

If you’d like to be added to our email list so you’ll be notified of our pre-booking events, just fill out the form below and I’ll get you added.

Name *
Name

S'mores

I still remember the day I met you and smile because it was the best day of my life.
— unknown

Brad and Oryenne…best friends throughout high school in Riesel, Texas. They were voted as the most musical guy and gal their senior year. They were also announced as the Band Beau and Sweetheart their senior year. When everyone looked at them they knew they’d be a couple. Someday. In fact, many believed they were actually a couple already!

2017 - Senior Session between best friends

2017 - Senior Session between best friends

During this best friend senior session of their senior year of high school, they found “their tree” on the banks of the Navasota River in Limestone County. You can read more about the “Friendship Tree” here. A year and a half later, they’d meet again at “their tree” on their way to another photo session together.

2018 - A quick stop to visit “their tree” on their way to their camping themed session

2018 - A quick stop to visit “their tree” on their way to their camping themed session

In late 2018, Brad and Oryenne are finally an “official” couple. They wanted a fun session together as a couple so I suggested a camping themed session centered around them making S’mores. They only had one request. They wanted to actually make REAL S’mores with a REAL fire. Easy enough!

Life is S’more fun with you!
— Anna Johnson Smith

Mike and Mysti: A Wedding Proposal

For years now I have wanted to photograph a wedding proposal! And I finally had the opportunity to do so on December 22, 2018 in Mexia, Texas.

Any day spent with you is my favorite day. So, today is my new favorite day.
— unknown

One day I decided to post a simple ad on Facebook that stated I was looking for someone that would be proposing to the love of their life within the coming weeks. Within a very short amount of time I was contacted by one of my favorite client’s that informed me that her daughter’s boyfriend was going to propose to her daughter on December 22nd and asked if she could pass my information along to him. Of course I said she could! A few minutes went by and my phone rang. It was Mike, the daughter’s boyfriend! He was very interested in working together to create a unforgettable proposal that would be recorded in still photographs, as well as captured on video. Through these still photographs and video clips a slideshow would be produced for them to keep forever.

Mike informed me that Mysti really wanted professional portraits taken of them with holiday decorations in the background. That is where I came into the plan! We had a beautiful location chosen by the river, however Mysti had to work late that day. In fact, she didn’t get off work until nearly 5:30! By the time she would be ready for a portrait session it would be pitch black outside. We decided the river would not work due to the absence of light and decided to find a location in downtown Mexia. As I drove around I discovered a street that was super cute and had holiday decorations, with one storefront (Sassy Sisters, a boutique store) particularly decorated AND they even had a porch light turned on! I snapped a few photos and sent them to Mike for his approval. He thought it was perfect and then brought the ring to me so I could put it in it’s secret place.

The secret place was on a Christmas tree in plain sight near a peppermint ornament that was hanging on the tree. I figured Mysti wouldn’t notice it since she would be facing my way for the portraits and she was a tad irritated having to work so late. I made sure to snap a photo with the ring behind them in plain sight and then it was time to put the plan into place. I looked at Mike and he slowly stepped away from Mysti and got down on one knee as she was turning around to look at the tree after I asked her, “What is that in the tree?” She didn’t notice the ring right away and needed a bit more pointing from me, but she still did not notice Mike on his knee either! Suddenly, she noticed the ring and was so elated!

This experience was so much fun! In fact, I think I’m addicted! I’m a sucker for a good love story and Mike and Mysti’s love story is definitely one of my all time favorites!

Special thanks to Sassy Sisters Boutique in downtown Mexia, Texas for the use of your front porch and holiday decorations!

Christmas Mini Session Recap

This past year we introduced holiday themed mini sessions. We offered Easter, Fourth of July and Christmas themed mini sessions and I met a lot of wonderful families at each one. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much that we plan on offering many more in 2019! We still plan on keeping them short and sweet, but the products offered for each theme will vary. And that excites me so much more than handing over digital images since I am a product based photography studio!

We are still in the planning stages, however I’m not only thinking themed holiday sessions, but what about a session for your favorite fur baby? The sky is the limit and I’m ready for an even better year in 2019!

We wrapped up 2018 with two days of Christmas Mini Sessions, one day took place in Waco and the other day took place in Groesbeck. Both were beautiful locations!

Here’s to an even bigger and better 2019!

We’d love to hear your ideas for 2019! Please feel free to drop us a comment and let us know what you’d love to see offered!

Over the Years: The Craven Family

The other day I was talking to my favorite person (my grandma Jo) on the phone and we ended up talking about the career paths we chose.  She was a nurse for most of her adult working years and I was an elementary school teacher for five years until I decided to resign and begin my photography business.  She told me there have been times when she thought about doing something besides nursing, but looking back now she couldn't imagine doing anything else.  She LOVED nursing!  Then she asked me what I career I would have chosen if I could start all over again.  As I thought, I honestly couldn't think of any other career choices I would have made.  

I loved teaching, but I didn't love the confines of teaching.  I loved that no two days were ever the same.  I loved having to adapt and be flexible throughout the day as different situations arose.  I loved the students and coworkers.  But I did not love the schedule.  I felt very confined.  When I decided to resign I immediately felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could now breathe freely.  

I absolutely LOVE being a photographer!  I love nearly everything about it - besides paying taxes.  I love making my own schedule.  I love creating wall art for families that will be treasured for years to come.  I love it when clients tell me that my work captures so many emotions.  But most of all I love meeting new people and connecting with them!  I love to capture them year after year and create beautiful wall art that showcases their family!  For this reason I have decided to begin a series which focuses on my loyal clients over the years titled, "Over the Years."

The Craven Family

Meet the Craven Family! I first met the Craven Family several years ago when I transferred two of my children to Hallsburg ISD. My son was in fifth grade with their son. Those two became friends and through that friendship our families became friends. We have LOTS in common since we both have large families! From the very first year of being in business, the Craven Family has been photographed by me. They have participated in several of our mini sessions as well as family sessions. Each session is full of laughs and no matter how long we go without seeing each other, the conversation will always pick up right where it left off. They have been there several times when I needed help and I am blessed to call them my friends. Through the years our kids have grown and although that makes me a little sad, I look forward to their future.

2014 - Fall Mini Session

2014 - Fall Mini Session

2014 - Halloween Mini Session (We STILL laugh about this photo!)

2014 - Halloween Mini Session (We STILL laugh about this photo!)

2014 - Candy Cane Mini Session

2014 - Candy Cane Mini Session

2014 - Family Session

2014 - Family Session

2015 - Senior Session

2015 - Senior Session

2015 - Valentine Mini Session

2015 - Valentine Mini Session

2015 - Easter Mini Session

2015 - Easter Mini Session

2015 - Fairy Imagination Session

2015 - Fairy Imagination Session

2015 - Fall Mini Session

2015 - Fall Mini Session

2016 - Family Session

2016 - Family Session

2017 - Senior Session

2017 - Senior Session

2018 - Family Session

2018 - Family Session

TWELVE sessions, y’all! The Craven Family has supported me from the very beginning and for that I am very grateful. Friends such as the Craven’s are a rare gift and I am blessed that I can honestly call them “my friends.”

Always take note of who supports you genuinely. Those are the people you should always keep around.
— unknown

THIS IS THE FIFTH FEATURED FAMILY IN THE "OVER THE YEARS" SERIES.  CHECK OUT OUR OTHER FEATURED FAMILIES!

  1. The Wier Family

  2. The Lopez Family

  3. Tana and Layla

  4. The Dale Family

Over the Years: The Dale Family

The other day I was talking to my favorite person (my grandma Jo) on the phone and we ended up talking about the career paths we chose.  She was a nurse for most of her adult working years and I was an elementary school teacher for five years until I decided to resign and begin my photography business.  She told me there have been times when she thought about doing something besides nursing, but looking back now she couldn't imagine doing anything else.  She LOVED nursing!  Then she asked me what I career I would have chosen if I could start all over again.  As I thought, I honestly couldn't think of any other career choices I would have made.  

I loved teaching, but I didn't love the confines of teaching.  I loved that no two days were ever the same.  I loved having to adapt and be flexible throughout the day as different situations arose.  I loved the students and coworkers.  But I did not love the schedule.  I felt very confined.  When I decided to resign I immediately felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could now breathe freely.  

I absolutely LOVE being a photographer!  I love nearly everything about it - besides paying taxes.  I love making my own schedule.  I love creating wall art for families that will be treasured for years to come.  I love it when clients tell me that my work captures so many emotions.  But most of all I love meeting new people and connecting with them!  I love to capture them year after year and create beautiful wall art that showcases their family!  For this reason I have decided to begin a series which focuses on my loyal clients over the years titled, "Over the Years."

The Dale Family

Meet the Dale Family! This family is filled with so much love…so much in fact that they have fostered several kiddos over the past few years. The Dale Family is truly generous and always willing to lend a helping hand whenever needed. In fact, several years ago my vehicle broke down on the way to drop my kids off at school. Michelle saw us and stopped to ask how she could help. She actually took our kids to school for us so we could figure out to do with our vehicle! I photographed their family for the first time in 2014 at Miss Nellie’s Pretty Place in Cameron Park, Waco, Texas. Since that time I have photographed members of their family four more times and I have photographed seven of their foster children as well. Looking back at the photographs from their sessions over the years it is hard to believe how much their children have grown! I absolutely love being their family photographer! I love meeting the little ones that they foster and treat as their own! I look forward to many more years of capturing the memories of their family, as well as the little ones that feel safe and secure during their time with the Dale Family!

2014 - Family Session at Miss Nellie’s Pretty Place. Look how little those two kiddos are!

2014 - Family Session at Miss Nellie’s Pretty Place. Look how little those two kiddos are!

2016 - Imagination Session. A young Ashley - she has always been super animated and creative!

2016 - Imagination Session. A young Ashley - she has always been super animated and creative!

2017 - Family Session. And just like that the Dale Family grew by one!

2017 - Family Session. And just like that the Dale Family grew by one!

2017 - One Year/Cake Smash Combo Session. Caleb is ONE!

2017 - One Year/Cake Smash Combo Session. Caleb is ONE!

2018 - Family Session. Look how much those adorable kids have grown! This session was bittersweet. It was the first “family session” they had in which they included their foster children (not pictured).

2018 - Family Session. Look how much those adorable kids have grown! This session was bittersweet. It was the first “family session” they had in which they included their foster children (not pictured).

The Dale Family are among my favorite clients! The are genuinely caring and absolutely selfless. Within a few months after their latest family session, the foster children they included in the session would leave their home. This was incredibly tough for the entire family, including the foster children. On the very day the foster children left, they were asked to take new foster children into their home. On this particular day Michelle wrote, “The need never stops. There's always another kid that needs you, that needs a safe place to land for a little while. Today my heart hurts for the ones that just left us, but I also wonder what happened to the ones that needed someone yesterday. We didn't have it to give and I pray that someone else was ready and willing.” And THAT is why they are among my favorite clients.

Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.
— unknown

THIS IS THE FOURTH FEATURED FAMILY IN THE "OVER THE YEARS" SERIES.  CHECK OUT OUR OTHER FEATURED FAMILIES!

  1. The Wier Family

  2. The Lopez Family

  3. Tana and Layla

Over the Years: Tana and Layla

The other day I was talking to my favorite person (my grandma Jo) on the phone and we ended up talking about the career paths we chose.  She was a nurse for most of her adult working years and I was an elementary school teacher for five years until I decided to resign and begin my photography business.  She told me there have been times when she thought about doing something besides nursing, but looking back now she couldn't imagine doing anything else.  She LOVED nursing!  Then she asked me what I career I would have chosen if I could start all over again.  As I thought, I honestly couldn't think of any other career choices I would have made.  

I loved teaching, but I didn't love the confines of teaching.  I loved that no two days were ever the same.  I loved having to adapt and be flexible throughout the day as different situations arose.  I loved the students and coworkers.  But I did not love the schedule.  I felt very confined.  When I decided to resign I immediately felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could now breathe freely.  

I absolutely LOVE being a photographer!  I love nearly everything about it - besides paying taxes.  I love making my own schedule.  I love creating wall art for families that will be treasured for years to come.  I love it when clients tell me that my work captures so many emotions.  But most of all I love meeting new people and connecting with them!  I love to capture them year after year and create beautiful wall art that showcases their family!  For this reason I have decided to begin a series which focuses on my loyal clients over the years titled, "Over the Years."

TANA AND LAYLA

Meet Tana and Layla, the gorgeous mother and daughter that I am lucky enough to photograph every year since 2015! At that time Layla was so little, just two years old! She was so full of energy and really made us work for each and every shot! Since that first session at Tonkawa Falls in 2015, I have captured their incredible bond in four other sessions. Layla is now five and has the same beautiful smile as she did when I first met her! This year’s session was a little different for them. And Layla was a little jealous. This year’s session included Tana’s fiance, Guthrie, in some of the poses. The two will soon be married and Layla is still trying to learn how to share her mommy. I absolutely love being their family photographer and I am looking forward to many more years of capturing their memories!

2015 - Family Session. An adorable two year old, Layla.

2015 - Family Session. An adorable two year old, Layla.

2016 - Family Session. This session was so sweet! Like momma, like daughter…absolutely stunning!

2016 - Family Session. This session was so sweet! Like momma, like daughter…absolutely stunning!

2017 - Fairytale Session. Layla had a birthday approaching and it was going to be Princess and the Frog (her favorite) themed so she had a session where she dressed up and posed like Tiana.

2017 - Fairytale Session. Layla had a birthday approaching and it was going to be Princess and the Frog (her favorite) themed so she had a session where she dressed up and posed like Tiana.

2017 - Family Session. For this session they ventured out to Limestone County for a rustic session at the family ranch.

2017 - Family Session. For this session they ventured out to Limestone County for a rustic session at the family ranch.

2018 - Family/Engagement Session. Layla is a little jealous about having to share her mom nowadays!

2018 - Family/Engagement Session. Layla is a little jealous about having to share her mom nowadays!

Tana and Layla (and Guthrie) are the PERFECT clients! They value photography and understand the importance of capturing the memories of their family over the years. We are comfortable around each other, which really shines in their images. Days after this session I saw a job posting Tana posted and at that time I had two kids (adult kids) looking for jobs. I sent them her way and she put them to work! I can’t thank her enough for that. Seriously!

Let what you love be what you do.
— Rumi

THIS IS THE THIRD FEATURED FAMILY IN THE "OVER THE YEARS" SERIES.  CHECK OUT OUR OTHER FEATURED FAMILIES!

  1. The Wier Family

  2. The Lopez Family

Over the Years: The Lopez Family

The other day I was talking to my favorite person (my grandma Jo) on the phone and we ended up talking about the career paths we chose.  She was a nurse for most of her adult working years and I was an elementary school teacher for five years until I decided to resign and begin my photography business.  She told me there have been times when she thought about doing something besides nursing, but looking back now she couldn't imagine doing anything else.  She LOVED nursing!  Then she asked me what I career I would have chosen if I could start all over again.  As I thought, I honestly couldn't think of any other career choices I would have made.  

I loved teaching, but I didn't love the confines of teaching.  I loved that no two days were ever the same.  I loved having to adapt and be flexible throughout the day as different situations arose.  I loved the students and coworkers.  But I did not love the schedule.  I felt very confined.  When I decided to resign I immediately felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could now breathe freely.  

I absolutely LOVE being a photographer!  I love nearly everything about it - besides paying taxes.  I love making my own schedule.  I love creating wall art for families that will be treasured for years to come.  I love it when clients tell me that my work captures so many emotions.  But most of all I love meeting new people and connecting with them!  I love to capture them year after year and create beautiful wall art that showcases their family!  For this reason I have decided to begin a series which focuses on my loyal clients over the years titled, "Over the Years."  

The Lopez Family

Meet the Lopez Family! I first met the Lopez family in 2016 when they booked a spring session when the bluebonnets were blooming close to the Easter holiday. Even though this session took place over two years ago, I remember it vividly. They are an incredibly beautiful family - inside and out! I learned an important lesson during this session. Be prepared for what could happen if you pose a family under a tree. One word. Birds! After that incident I thought for sure they’d never book another session with me again, but I’m grateful they did! In fact, they book at least one session each year! And I love each and every one of them! I love capturing these kids grow. I love capturing their changing personalities. I am beyond blessed that we crossed paths and I have been chosen to be their family photographer. Here’s to many more years of capturing memories!

2016 - Family Session. I learned two important things this session. Be mindful of birds in trees. And little Ricky LOVES his baby blanket!

2016 - Family Session. I learned two important things this session. Be mindful of birds in trees. And little Ricky LOVES his baby blanket!

2017 - Family Session. I learned that some days, two year old boys do NOT want anything to do with family portraits!

2017 - Family Session. I learned that some days, two year old boys do NOT want anything to do with family portraits!

2018 - Family Session. Seriously?!? Look at how gorgeous these kiddos are!

2018 - Family Session. Seriously?!? Look at how gorgeous these kiddos are!

And they already have another session booked for December! Can’t wait to see them again!

For the past few years now I have captured memories for the Lopez Family. And each session has been full of laughs. I love having such loyal clients that are comfortable with me and likewise I am comfortable with them. When we meet for our session we can pick up the conversation exactly where we left off the year before. We have built a relationship that is priceless.

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
— Steve Jobs

This is the second featured family in the "Over the Years" series.  Check out our other featured families!

  1. The Wier Family

Strong As An Oak

September 22, 2018 was the first official day of fall. The PERFECT day for a wedding - especially for a bride that loves all things fall! And the weather on this particular day definitely felt like fall! It was very cool, with a light breeze. The sky was filled with clouds, but the rain stayed away. It felt like a crisp, fall day at Vintage Oaks Ranch in Axtell, Texas.

When I first met Tobie and Chad at their engagement session in November of 2017 I knew they were meant for each other. They just had “that” connection.

I could instantly tell how they felt about one another.  They genuinely love each other on a deep level.  They have the type of love that is full of compassion, support, respect, and encouragement.  When I asked Tobie to tell me their "story," she explained this very type of love. - With You I Am, blog about their engagement session

A collage of images from  Tobie and Chad’s engagement session.

Their wedding day was filled with just as much love for one another! I don’t know how else to explain it other than contagious. You just look at them and you can’t help but smile.

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groom blog smith-family-photography

The ceremony took place at Vintage Oaks Ranch in Axtell, Texas and began at 6:30 pm. And just as you would imagine, it was filled with emotions…which included happy tears.

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Mr. and Mrs. Walker!

Mr. and Mrs. Walker!

Even Tobie’s grandmother was included in the day in a very special way.

Even Tobie’s grandmother was included in the day in a very special way.

Tobie and Chad, I am beyond honored that you asked me to help capture the memories on your special day. Marriage is a journey that goes much further than your beautiful wedding. This was just the beginning of the path you’ll travel together as you overcome obstacles and weather the storms together - forever. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness!

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Vendor Credits

Venue: Vinatge Oaks Ranch, Axtell, Texas

Coordinator: Kaylen Dunks

Florist: Penny Lenamon- owner of Rusty Rose

Cake: Simply Delicious Bakery

DJ: Johnathan and Christina Price

Makeup and hair : Susana Rocha and Laura

All dresses: Georgio’s 

Tuxedos: Men’s Wearhouse

Officiant: Jimmy Cotton

Invitations: Flatt Stationers

Special thanks to Angela Bailey with Angela Bailey Photography for assisting me in capturing the memories for Tobie and Chad!

All Eyes On Us

The week leading up to the wedding of Jack and Bailey on Saturday, September 15, 2018 was filled with tons of rain. The forecast was even calling for high rain chances for that Saturday. As the week crept by, those high rain chances slowly begin to decrease. As everyone continued to cross their fingers, Saturday arrived and those rain chances were pretty much gone. The sun was shining and it was a perfectly calm day. It was a picture perfect day - literally!

That Saturday at 6:30 pm, under clear skies, Jack and Bailey would say, “I Do,” at the beautiful Wind Dancer Retreat in Bryan, Texas.

Jack and Bailey first met...

...in Corpus Christi at work.  Bailey was working as an office manager and Jack was one of the vendors.  He delivered goods to her workplace for a month or two and he would always ask Bailey what there was to do in Corpus.  Bailey noticed that Jack was always very polite.  Bailey's best friend noticed (and insisted) that Jack was interested in Bailey, however Bailey just thought that Jack was being professional by creating small talk.  This continued for several weeks until one day he was in his truck and asked Bailey if he could take her to do dinner.  Bailey told him that he could IF, and only if, he could remember her phone number and she shouted her number to him as he sat in his truck.  

Bailey did not expect Jack to remember her phone number.  He was sitting in his truck and she shouted it to him rather than writing it down for him or allowing him to write it down. But Jack did remember her number!  He sent Bailey a text about an hour later which said, "You owe me dinner ma'am."  

That same evening Bailey replied to Jack's message and told him that she was caught up at work and would not be able to make time for dinner with him, even though she was actually at home.  

The following week Jack showed up to deliver goods at Bailey's workplace and he asked her if she would make time for dinner with him.  Again, Bailey said that she would.  However this time she actually did go to dinner with him.  They drove to three different places before finding a restaurant with good customer service.  They enjoyed dinner and laughed...a lot!  

Over the next few months they continued talking casually.  One weekend Bailey decided to travel with Jack for a weekend trip to visit his parents.  They met his parents at Texas Roadhouse (THEIR place to eat) and then went to the family ranch, where Jack showed Bailey around.  Jack had Bailey put on some torn up dirty overalls and they began working on the ranch.  Bailey had a great time!  It was completely different than her life in Arizona.  

Eventually Jack asked Bailey to move in with him and ever since they have been inseparable.  

One day Jack surprised Bailey…

with a shopping trip for a fancy dress.  Jack would not tell Bailey why she needed the fancy dress.  The next day Jack told Bailey that they were going to dinner that night and she had to be ready at 5:00 sharp...and she HAD to wear the new fancy dress.  Bailey joked about dressing up for dinner at Texas Roadhouse!  Jack laughed and told her to get ready.

At 5:00 Jack told Bailey that it was time to go and she headed to the garage as she normally did.  Jack told her to just use the front door.  After all, "It's easier," he said.  Bailey questioned Jack about this as she walked out the front door and saw a limo waiting for them.  Bailey was so excited and began to get tears in her eyes.  They enjoyed the limo ride to Del Friscos Steakhouse in Houston, a beautiful restaurant with an amazing view.  They enjoyed a delicious dinner, even though Bailey noticed that Jack was acting...different.  Jack told her that he loved her and would continue to love her forever and he would do everything he had to in order to give their family a good life.  He went on to say that it was not the right time to get married because they weren't stable enough yet, but he just wanted her to know that she was his world.  

When they finished their meals, they decided to order dessert.  Bailey ordered cheesecake since that is their favorite dessert.  Jack left to the restroom and was gone for awhile.  When he returned Bailey told him that she didn't know it took 20 minutes to bring out dessert.  About this same time the dessert arrived...and it said, "Will you marry me?" Bailey began to panic because she was sure that the waiter brought them the wrong plate!  She looked at Jack to tell him how embarrassing it was that they brought the wrong plate to their table and saw Jack on one knee with a ring.  Bailey jumped into his arms as she cried and said, "YES!"  She gave him her right hand instead of her left hand!   

You can read more about Jack and Bailey’s engagement here.

jack-and-bailey-engagement-session-smith-family-photography

Special Note to the Newlyweds

Jack and Bailey, I wish you both a lifetime of happiness. The amount of love and respect you both show each other throughout your words, as well as actions towards one another is so calming to all those that surround you. You both have tons of love and support from your families and that is absolutely priceless. Kaden is truly blessed to have such wonderful parents and grandparents in his life!

Vendor Credits

Venue: Wind Dancer Retreat, Bryan, TX

Coordinator: Shana Wells

Florist: University Flowers

Linens: Party Time Rentals

Cake Artist: Dianna Brannan

Caterer: C & J Barbeque

DJ: Downtown Entertainment

Make-Up and Hair Artist: Naturally Flawless

Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal

Bridal Gown: VIP Bridal

Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse

Officiant: Floyd Stanley

Special thanks to Angela Bailey with Angela Bailey Photography for assisting me in capturing the memories for Jack and Bailey!

Over the Years: The Wier Family

The other day I was talking to my favorite person (my grandma Jo) on the phone and we ended up talking about the career paths we chose.  She was a nurse for most of her adult working years and I was an elementary school teacher for five years until I decided to resign and begin my photography business.  She told me there have been times when she thought about doing something besides nursing, but looking back now she couldn't imagine doing anything else.  She LOVED nursing!  Then she asked me what I career I would have chosen if I could start all over again.  As I thought, I honestly couldn't think of any other career choices I would have made.  

I loved teaching, but I didn't love the confines of teaching.  I loved that no two days were ever the same.  I loved having to adapt and be flexible throughout the day as different situations arose.  I loved the students and coworkers.  But I did not love the schedule.  I felt very confined.  When I decided to resign I immediately felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could now breathe freely.  

I absolutely LOVE being a photographer!  I love nearly everything about it - besides paying taxes.  I love making my own schedule.  I love creating wall art for families that will be treasured for years to come.  I love it when clients tell me that my work captures so many emotions.  But most of all I love meeting new people and connecting with them!  I love to capture them year after year and create beautiful wall art that showcases their family!  For this reason I have decided to begin a series which focuses on my loyal clients over the years titled, "Over the Years."

The Wier Family

Meet the Wier Family!  I first met the Wier Family in 2014 at my first ever fall mini session/pumpkin patch mini session event.  At this time they had one gorgeous daughter and one handsome son.  I had such a great time with them and I hoped they would schedule a future session with me...and they did.  In fact they scheduled many more sessions with me since that time.  Just take a look at how much their family changed over the years!  And look how much my photography changed as well!

2014 - Fall Pumpkin Patch Mini-Session

2014 - Fall Pumpkin Patch Mini-Session

2015 - Easter Mini-Session

2015 - Easter Mini-Session

2015 - Halloween Mini-Session

2015 - Halloween Mini-Session

2015 - Fairy Session

2015 - Fairy Session

2016 - Fairy Session

2016 - Fairy Session

2017 - Newborn Session

2017 - Newborn Session

2018 - Family Session

2018 - Family Session

For four years now I have captured memories for the Wier Family.  That is just amazing!  And I am so incredibly happy that they finally had a family session with me!  When I schedule a session with them, they already know what to expect from me.  We can easily carry on conversations.  I know their children.  Everything is just so smooth!  

The Wier Family is a perfect example of WHY I love my job.  

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
— Confucius

Miracles

September 1, 2018 was a beautiful day for a wedding for William and Victoria! After a very long, dry summer in Central Texas, the area suddenly began receiving rain. Isolated showers were in the forecast and the clouds began to build, but the clouds parted which gave way for the sun to shine brightly for their outdoor ceremony at the Knob Creek Chapel in Temple, Texas.

hammond-wedding-smith-family-photography-texas

Victoria and William met online and had their first date on January 16, 2015 at the Farm House Restaurant in Mexia, Texas. After dinner the two laid under the stars in a pasture as they listened to music and enjoyed each others company.

They continued to get to know each other over the next few months and then something unexpected happened. On July 7, 2015, at the young age of 22, William had a brain aneurysm. He was in a coma for two weeks in the Intensive Care Unity at Temple Baylor Scott and White Memorial. Slowly he healed by the grace of God, family support and the dedication from the medical staff.

After nearly a month, on Victoria’s birthday, William spoke for the first time since the aneurysm. William told Victoria that he loved her! One week later he was discharged to Austin Neurological Rehabilitation where William had to learn how to walk, talk, write and eat again since he lost the ability to do these activities after he suffered multiple strokes from his brain injury.

In October of 2015 William finally returned home. Each day he continues to improve. He now attends Texas State Technical College and is enrolled in the Aviation Mechanics Program. Victoria was inspired to become a nurse so she enrolled in the McLennan Communtiy College Nursing Program. She graduated in May of 2018 and now works at Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest in Waco.

William proposed on June 3, 2017 outside of Leakey, Texas by the Frio River in front of the mountains. Victoria would soon become a stepmother to William’s five year old daughter, Alaya, and she couldn’t wait! Victoria says that Alaya is a blessing to both of them and it is a true blessing to have her in their lives.

William and Victoria continue to further their education and commitment to each other…and to Alaya.

Special thanks to Angela Bailey with Angela Bailey Photography for assisting me in capturing the special details and memories on this extraordinary day!

A Change is Comin'

Smith Family Photography is a Central Texas based portrait photographer serving Waco, Mart, Groesbeck, Mexia and the surrounding areas. We strive to provide a fun, modern, and creative photography experience while creating wall art that showcases your family.
— Anna Johnson-Smith of Smith Family Photography

Smith Family Photography has been a business for over 4 years now.  When I decided to open this business I had one vision, which was to provide families with meaningful portraits that would be displayed as pieces of art and treasured for generations.  You can read more about my "why" here.  However, over this past summer I began evaluating my business just as I do every single summer and for some reason, it hit me smack dab in the middle of the forehead!  My goal never changed over the years, BUT I wasn't providing my clients with the experience to meet this goal either.  It was so obvious!  Why didn't I see this in the beginning?

Every single year until now we have had a session fee that was not dependent on the amount of people included in the session.  This will remain the same as it is a big pet peeve of mine when large families are priced higher than small families.  This session fee includes many things, but it mainly covers the expenses associated with the session itself (time, fuel, equipment, etc) and has nothing to do with the actual images.  The images are purchased separately as you like with no minimum requirements.  The session did include a $35 credit to use towards the purchase of your images, which was enough to cover the Basic Print Collection.  This collection included one 8x10, two 5x7s and 8 wallets.  Suddenly, this collection seemed so silly and totally against the original vision for Smith Family Photography!  Where was the wall art??  It certainly wasn't a tiny 8x10 unframed print!

Seriously, if my vision was to provide families with portraits that would be treasured as wall art why was I only giving them an 8x10 and two 5x7 and 8 wallets?!?  Now that I realized I was not providing my clients with what I visioned, I had to find a way to give them something special - something that only I could provide them.  Something that would be so unique and special that it would be treasured for generations to come.  And that something would be a custom hand crafted piece of wall art which would be known as Memories Art Print © by Smith Family Photography.  A certificate of authenticity is also included with each Memories Art Print © by Smith Family Photography.

Memories Art Print © by Smith Family Photography

Memories Art Print © by Smith Family Photography

Each session will now (beginning on sessions booked after September 1, 2018) include one Memories Art Print © by Smith Family Photography rather than a $35 credit.  This new hand crafted piece of wall art can be customized directly through your online gallery with your choice of wood in brown, natural or gray.  

Another way in which I can better meet the needs of my clients is by providing them with complimentary digital images for social media sharing.  These complimentary social media images will accompany any printed product that is purchased as an 11x14 or larger - even if you do not purchase a collection.  This will allow you to share your favorite images with family and friends online via social media without a watermark going across the entire middle of the image.  

We have also simplified our product line and created a tab on our website titled, "Investment," which explains each product, as well as provides prospective clients insight into our different types of sessions:

We now have four collections to choose from, as well as al a carte professional products.

Collections

  • Art Print Collection
  • Memories Art Print © Collection
  • Canvas Collection
  • Metal Collection

Al a Carte

  • Professional Photographic Prints, lustre and matte
  • Art Prints
  • Canvas Gallery Wraps
  • Vivid Metal Print
  • Coffee Table Book
  • Custom Pendant

I'm so excited to FINALLY be providing my clients with the experience I originally envisioned!  When I began this business venture I asked myself what types of products I should offer - digital images, prints, canvas wraps, metals, etc.  I chose my product offerings from thinking about what my best friends would like to receive from me since I knew I wanted to treat all of my clients just like I would treat my best friend.  I feel this change truly reflects that.  I'm so excited about this change and I hope all my clients will be as well!  

Hidden Messages

A few years ago my husband received a Christmas gift from a relative.  He opened the gift to find two hand stitched quilt blocks.  But what made these two hand stitched quilt blocks ordinary was the letter that accompanied them.  This letter explained that these quilt blocks were hand stitched by his grandmother, "Big Mama," while she was in a nursing home.  She never got around to putting the blocks together and one of the nurses felt that the family would appreciate these one day.  She gathered them up in hopes of one day putting them together to make the quilt.  

To me, the beauty of a quilt or a dress lies within the stitches and the thought of the person who made them. When you spend time making something with your two hands, you impart love in a way that buying never can.
— Natalie

As time went on and lives stayed busy, these quilt blocks just sat there.  When the nurse stumbled upon them again she knew they could no longer be sewn together to make a quilt due to the age of the fabric and stitching.  The only thing she could think to do with the blocks was to reach out to the family and give them all the blocks.  And that is exactly what she did.  That family member split up the quilt blocks and gave them to the children and grandchildren.  

We put the letter and two quilt blocks into an end table that had a glass top to create a shadow box.  I loved seeing them inside!  I didn't know my husband's grandmother, but I've heard lots of stories about her so I feel like I know her to a certain extent.  My own grandmother enjoys genealogy so I grew up knowing that family is important and part of that includes keeping artifacts and stories of your family alive.  My grandma loves to write so she has written down many stories of her family, as well as of her own life over the years.  I find it so fascinating to listen to her tell me these stories!  She has collected hundreds of old photographs that have been put into  binders to preserve them next to their pedigree chart (family tree).  

Back to my original story...  One day my I was watching our cat, Trixie, play with her toys and she walked over to the couch like she has down thousands of times before and began to scratch her nails.  UGH!!  I suddenly had a thought!  Trixie needs a cat scratching post!  And not one of the cheaply made store bought ones that she's already shredded.  I'm talking about a solid scratching post she can really use.  I looked on Google for ideas and found a few that I felt Trixie would enjoy.  I drew a rough sketch of the cat post and went to Lowe's for the supplies.

As the supplies sat there waiting for me to get around to putting everything together, I heard it!  I heard the SAW!!  I quickly went outside and found my husband building the cat post...completely WRONG!!  AHHHH!  I know he was just trying to help, but I had a very specific idea and this was just not it...at all.  I couldn't say much because he was so proud of himself so I asked a few questions about his plans and went back inside, but I was kinda sad to be honest.  

When he finished he brought the cat post inside, but we couldn't attach it to the wall yet because we didn't have those supplies so he sat it in the corner of the living room.  Fast forward to the next morning.  I was in my bedroom putting up laundry and I heard a loud crash accompanied with the sound of glass breaking.  I FROZE!!  I hesitantly walked out of the bedroom to investigate and saw Sadie Lou sitting there with this look on her face, a look like she had no clue what she just did, but she did something.  Any ideas what she accidentally did?

You guessed it!  She accidentally knocked down the cat post and it fell onto the end table with the glass top which encased the quilt blocks and letter.  

OOPS!

OOPS!

First things first, the broken glass had to be cleaned up for obvious safety reasons and then I could assess the damage.  The end table was ruined so it had to go to the trash.  The cat post was also damaged, but I decided to salvage it.  Now I was able to put it together as I hoped so that part was a win!  The quilt blocks were not damaged, but now I had a problem.  Where would I put them to protect them?

I decided to put them into frames so they'd be behind glass to keep the fabric and stitching preserved.  As I was framing the quilt blocks I wondered how I could also preserve the letter.  I decided to put it in the frame, but behind the quilt block so it was hidden.  As I was doing this I had an idea!

I included the framed quilt blocks at the end of our wall art gallery.

I included the framed quilt blocks at the end of our wall art gallery.

What if we included personal hand written letters with our priceless photographs that are hanging on our walls?  How special would that be for my children to turn around their photograph to find a hidden message from me telling them how much I love them and just how special they are?  I decided to put a letter behind the senior portrait of each of my children.  I'd love for you to do the same!  

If you're interested in doing this as well, fill out the form below and I will send you the templates I used when writing my letter.

Name *
Name