The faces behind the stories!

The faces behind the stories!
My little Loves.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Visiting Meme

We love when we get an opportunity to visit with Meme! I had Christina's kids with me, and we all went and had a great visit.

I Love Him

It's always amazing to me when I look back at childhood and think of how easy life seemed. There needed to be a slow reality check that started earlier, to let us know... Life is just not peaches and cream all the time.

The truth for me now, as an adult in a tough world, I have God...and that is a truth that keeps me looking forward and believing for great things in a world that continues to decline. Another truth that centers me and makes me want to "do my thang" each day... is this man. It's these images, the goofy, the love, the laughs, the fun... he's my safe place, and he is my partner. I don't always know why things happen, or how we'll make it through them... but I know it will be together and I'm so thankful God has blessed me with that truth.

I love you Aaron. I love your strength of character, I love that you're just the right size for a perfect hug (which I had prayed for when I would tell God what I wanted in a husband), I love that I can make you smile when you don't want to, I love that I can trust you, I love knowing you are praying for our family, I love so much... I just love that you're mine and I can kiss that cheek (whether you like it or not) WHENEVER I WANT!! ha ha

Thank you for all of your hard work in 2014 baby... Thank you for believing in my business, and helping me to create my spaces and not questioning my purchases for the business. ;) Let's continue that trend! ha ha

Happy New Year... I wish you were home!

My Co-Sleeper

The only times my boys are ever allowed to sleep in my bed is when their dad is out of town. ;) Aaron took Joe with him to Southern CA, so Matthew has been my co-sleeper! If you look close at the lower photo, you'll see SILLY PUTTY in his hand! Ack! I didn't notice it until after I took the pic! I had to get it off of Dad's sheets! ha ha He is a very sweet little man, and has rubbed my back in the morning. I love his tenderness.

Playing dress up

When we've had a hard time... or if the boys have been really good with me for some tough errands etc... one of the ways we like to "let off steam" is to visit the Party store... or any store that has costumes. lol The boys LOVE putting on masks and hats... and glasses! These costumes cracked me up. The Hunk/IronMan! lol

Matthew's in the Pack

I had to snap a photo of this. As much as it pains me to see it happening, I had to have proof to show him (and any girl who thinks she wants to kiss him later in life! lol). Aaron watched a show about a woman who trains wolves. Part of the bonding process was letting them lick her mouth, which made her a part of their pack. Matthew heard about this, and decided he wanted to make sure the puppies know he is part of their pack. Gross! :) BUT, His Tiny really does love him!

Christmas pups

Aaron says, "If they were gone tomorrow, I wouldn't care."... but, I see him sneaking in some play time with them when nobody is looking. ;) This isn't a great photo, but it's the only one I got of the little Christmas hats we got the pups. lol They lasted long enough for one snap! ha ha I love this little critters... I could do with out their bathroom behaviors and chewing of random everythings, but they a re so incredibly sweet. If they were gone tomorrow, I'd be heart broken. ;)

Bat Crew

We're knuckleheads. I love my family. We laughed at how the mask squished Aaron's cheeks and made him look like, "Chubby Batman." (like Chubby Bunny). We were all still pretty tired, I'm not sure how we got Aaron to try on a mask before he had drank his coffee! ;)

The Pup Chewed the Pup!

We bought each one of the boys their own box of "kid safe" ornaments when they were 1 and 3. The bottom half of the tree was just theirs. They could take their ornaments on and off as often as they wanted, and often left them in one big clump together. :) Over the years, we have continued to have the boys put their special ornaments out... Joe's being the puppies. This year, Joe actually has his own puppy, who had decided it was more fun to eat the ornament than look at it! ha ha... Oh Scrappy, you naughty little fella!

Shepherds & Wisemen!

We had the experience of being a part of Harvest's Christmas production. Can I just tell you, the actual play was SO fun! The school did such an amazing job working with the students to get ready. All of us proud Jackson boy supporters were pleased!

Joe was a wise-man... wearing his Duck Dynasty beard, my rob, and a sparkly piece of scrapbook paper we found and cut into a crown! :)

Matthew is a shepherd... I used one of my "retired" white muslin backdrops to create his costume! :) Both of the brown pieces on him, and on Joe's head is from an old curtain that I had used at our previous homes and had tucked away... it was a good death for the thing! lol

"We Found A Lobster!"

After one of our recent storms, actually DURING one of our recent storms, I let the boys go play outside. They were all bundled up playing in the water. Matthew came to the door with a raised voice and major excitement in his tone, "MAMA!!!! I FOUND A LOBSTER!!!!" I thought for sure I was walking into a trap of some sort! ha ha

Turns out, there was a crawdad in our ditch. This is very unlikely and we're not sure how it happened... but, he found his "Mini-Lobster!"

Pretty Birds

While on a drive with Aaron, he stopped out of the blue. I didn't know why he had stopped. Aaron knows I like to photograph cool birds. :) He had spotted this guy, and thought I'd like to take his photo. I only had my iphone at the time, but isn't he COOL?

Our Family Photo

We took our annual Thanksgiving trip to SoCal again this year. I was SO happy when we realized we WOULD be able to go up to Oak Glen to take a family photo at the tree we had done every year (but last year) since Joe was 6 months old. 

Only problem was, when we got to the tree... it was dying and the ranch it is at decided to screw a big sign into it. Ack, there goes that plan. It sort of makes it easier for me to move on from the tradition, though, since it's impossible. Now, we'll just have to find a new location in NorCal that we can grow with!

Soooo the Duncans and Jacksons moved on to a park where we still captured our family's photo. :) Thank you to Chris Duncan for making the boys laugh after they had both just been about in tears because of a frustrated Mama trying to get them to be good for a photo! LOL (You'd think I WOULD know better, but... I was bad. lol)

Disneyland & A Perfect Babysitter....

We had a family trip to Disneyland this year!!! WHAT?!? We finally did it! The boys had saved birthday money, I had put my tip money into our "Disneyland Bucket"... and we saved for a long time. We were able to enjoy a two day visit from opening until closing each night.... CRAZY! ha ha On our last night, we let the boys do the water rapid ride in CA Adventure as many times as they wanted before they got kicked off for being closed. I think it was 11 times they got to just stay on and keep going! ha ha They were DRENCHED!

We had a great time, but I left my camera at home. :) I told the boys I would not bring it so we could enjoy the memories together instead of me capturing them enjoying them. They were happy with that choice, so I have very few iphone pics.

We were meeting our friends in Downtown Disney for dinner, and had to stop in at the Lego store, where I found THE perfect babysitter! :)

Aunt Bev's Visit

We had a fantastic time this year, having Aunt Bev visit with us! She was a great help with the boys, and a lot of fun to talk with. I wish she were around more to help the boys with all the crazy school stuff... she's a smart cookie, and teaches them things really well. It was a blessing to have her spend a good chunk of her CA vacation with us, and get to know her more... and the boys to build memories with her! 

SVT & Me... Continued

This year has been trying with SVT. My episodes have increased, and my palpitations have increased. It makes sense seeing that my boys are older (and more, um.... well, not easy all the time! LOL)... and I opened a studio this year. My business has grown so much and it is all keeping me very busy and I'll admit to feeling stressed at times.... super rare of course! ;)

About October, I had a bad episode. Thankfully, it was the first that Aaron was home for. I was driving with him to pick up something for his work. My new cardiologist in San Rafael had told me I didn't need to worry about getting to the hospital within an hour, that there was no risk for a stroke. (Heartbreaking news, since I had just lived 4-5 years thinking I can't be outside an hour of a hospital... but I think I already blogged about that)... Anyway... I told Aaron to just keep driving, that it would go away and I'd be fine. I was a bit scared though, because this episode came on very strong and made me really uncomfortable and light headed. It had the strongest effect an episode has yet.

So, we continued to drive to pick up Aaron's trailer... until it was 1.5 hours into an episode of my heart beating over 250 beats a minute. I started to get nervous that it wasn't going away on it's own like the Cardiologist had said. I started to get jaw pain, and just felt really uncomfortable, so we decided to call the Kaiser advice nurse. She instantly passed me to an ER Dr who asked me to please get right in to the hospital. Ack. I didn't love that news.

What I hadn't ever been told (Amazingly, in my opinion) is that jaw pain is a sign of heart distress. What!?! I have a heart condition and I have never been told that fun fact. Anyway, moving on. lol

When Aaron and I get into the ER... I was in good spirits although not feeling well. The ER staff were joking with me and guessing my heart rate (based on my behavior etc, they hadn't hooked me up yet)... I told them it was 250+, they guessed like 140... Aaron and I both got a good laugh over how quickly their faces changed and how things became "STAT" when they did get my hooked up and saw that I was correct...250+bpm. :)

Thankfully, just before they were about to administer Adenosine (sp?)...which I have had before, and it stops my heart for a second so it can start back up again correctly (which is scary)... My heart rate finally did go back to normal on it's own... at about 2 hours/2.5hrs into the episode.

Soooo, the latest is... I have a procedure coming up called a "Catheter Ablation." They will go into my heart with a catheter to find the malfunctioning area of my heart and cauterize it. After that procedure (which is set for 2/13/15.... a great Valentines date! lol)... I should be episode free for the rest of my life! There's chances it wont work, there's chances SVT could come back... but we're just believing the procedure will go smoothly and I will no longer have any effects of SVT. :)

No more ER EKG images for my 2015 blog book! ;)


It is so funny to me, how differently my boys approach the same thing sometimes. Joe was FULLY PREPARED to get the most gruesome costume he could get. There were so many I had to say No to! ha ha Matthew, on the other hand, had decided this year that Halloween is not a holiday he wants to celebrate. That was, of course, until he was reminded about candy... and told he could be Uncle Rick's "Mini-Me." They were some kind of creepy clown together.

On Gas, or On Grace?

One morning, earlier this year (I'm putting a lot of posts together tonight because it's the last day of the year and I want to sneak moments in my blog book for this year!), I was driving the boys to school when I noticed I was low on gas.

I had actually noticed the night before, but I had forgotten and did not leave myself enough time to get gas and get them to school on time. Once you've passed the one gas station by my house, there isn't another one for the 20 minute drive to their school.

So, while on the way, I prayed, "Lord, if you could please get this car to the boys' school with out running out of gas, I'd appreciate it!" Needless to say, we made it to school. As I sat there and thanked the Lord once the boys were there on time, I smiled. Why did I only ask "to get to school"... why don't I ask for what I REALLY need... I needed to get to school and then down the road to the gas station.

It reminded me of a time when I was younger. We were on a long caravan vacation and we somewhere in UT when I had a HORRIBLE earache. I was about 8, and I prayed a very simple minded prayer, "Lord, please make me any other kind of sick but this." INSTANTLY, I felt the need to throw up. I ran into the bathroom, threw up, and I was completely better... no ear ache, no stomach ache... just better. I smiled, then, and told the Lord, "Ok Lord, next time I'll just ask to be BETTER, not to be any other kind of sick."

I believe, the morning my gas was low... I made it to the school AND to the gas station on Grace, not on gas. It was LOW... I was ready for it to start puttering back in Sonoma before getting the boys to school. I know it will sound silly to some, but that's ok with me. I'm thankful that my heart believes in a God who could run my car on grace, even if there is no gas!

I'm thankful for Grace, and I'm thankful that God has a sense of humor when we don't quite think out our prayer requests before talking to him! ha ha

Cardboard Boxes...

Matthew and I were driving down the road when he had a thought.

Matthew: Mama, if cardboard boxes had feelings, and I were a cardboard box... I wouldn't like that.
Me: Why not?
Matthew: Because I would get cut open with a knife! Same to you?

Ha ha ha, this boy and his random thoughts crack me up!

Red Lips....

I volunteered my time for the school district at the Red & White Ball... Everyone was dressed in Red & White, and I was the photographer for the night. I never wear much makeup, but I chose to wear red lips! :) As I walked out to go to the job, Joe says, "WOAH!!!" ha ha ha

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Homeless Joe...

Occasionally, my boys come along on jobs with me; as my assistants. This past Sunday, I opened up a spot for a client and let them know I'd have a "junior assistant" with me! Most of my clients have kids, and enjoy meeting my dudes.

While Joe and I were waiting for my client to arrive, there were a few homeless men (which, we made as an assumption, but if they aren't homeless... well, I'd be surprised). One of which looked a bit tweeky and lead me to feel a bit protective of Joe. The other two were working on a bike. They were having a hard time holding the handle bars up while they worked on it.

Joe, walked up to them and said, "Hey, can I hold the bars for you so you can do that?" At first, the one doing more of the working looked at Joe and said "No thank you man." The other one said, "Hey, the kid wants to be a helper, be nice!" ha ha ha The first man smiled at Joe and told him he was sorry, that there were just a few sharp things and he didn't want him to get hurt.

I stood back a bit and let my big guy do his big heart thing. The first man asked Joe his name... They all shook hands and introduced themselves. The first man asked Joe, "Have you ever gotten any grease on your hands?" At this point, I had to interject, "He has now!" ha ha We all had a good laugh, and it let the guys know I was friendly too.

Joe held the handlebars, shook hands again, received a "Very lucky quarter" from "Jason" (the "second guy.")... received instructions to "STAY IN SCHOOL!" and walked away with a smile. That's my boy. It's his heart. "See a need, fill a need." (watch Robots if you don't know that reference!)

As we walked away. Joe saw Jason ride away on his bike with a cup of water from the Starbucks. He said, "Mama, look, he's NOT homeless, he has Starbucks!" ha ha I let him know Starbucks gives water for free.

Joe, as he always does, thought about the situation. He had his thinking face on and then said, "Hey Mama...."  Yes Buddy?.... "I think it would be kind of fun to be homeless." *my typical deep sigh* lol I have to hear his whole thought before I respond, because sometimes his "twist on things" is pretty amazing. This time, he just thought it was cool that these guys had free time to hang out and ride bikes. :)

I asked him... Do you know that you will have dinner tonight?.... "yes." Where do you think they will get dinner tonight?... "I don't know." Do you know you will have a warm bed tonight?  "yes.... But, I could sleep in a window with some cardboard!!" :)

As the shoot went on, I was photographing a little girl sitting in a window... when Joe took it upon himself to climb up into the window next to her and see how it would feel to sleep there. ;)

Joe and I definitely have our battles. We struggle to see eye to eye sometimes, and I struggle to calm down and see some things in love and not just a demand for respect etc. I'm an "old school mom" with a new school kid and we're a work in progress together. As I fail and I succeed, my heart is greatly blessed that HIS heart is full of love for mankind. He could not see you struggle and walk by. He cried the other night because I didn't have any coins or dollars to give to the bell ringer for Salvation Army. 

Joe Jackson... I thank God for you, and I thank God he made you Ours. We wont always get it right, but you hold that love and kindness deep in your heart always and ask God to help you through the rest. ;) <3  <3 Mama.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Face to Face: A Lunch Discussion

While out to lunch with my boys...

Joe: Hey Mama, when we die and go to heaven, do we get to see God's face? 

Me: I believe the Bible says we will see Him face to face, but we can study and make sure. 

Joe: smiling... Well, then that is something nice about dying. 

.... I love to get to jump into his brain with him sometimes. He is always thinking, and when he shares with me, sometimes it is amazing. 

Face to Face: A Lunch Discussion

While out to lunch with my boys...

Joe: Hey Mama, when we die and go to heaven, do we get to see God's face? 

Me: I believe the Bible says we will see Him face to face, but we can study and make sure. 

Joe: smiling... Well, then that is something nice about dying. 

.... I love to get to jump into his brain with him sometimes. He is always thinking, and when he shares with me, sometimes it is amazing. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Do NOT go in there!!!

I walked in my house today to find Matthew with his hands up towards me saying, "mama do not go in your room!" I said, "why not?" He says,"Dada is naked in there, DO NOT go in there!" 

I asked, " well, how do YOU know he is naked?" He says, "Because I am a boy, I can go in there, but YOU are a girl!" As he proudly walked in the manly room to go potty. Lol

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Harvest Christian School... and Us.

This year, we started a new school... a journey into private Christian school.

To be honest, I was against it at first. I was raised in public school and I felt like I was a "light in a dark place" sort of thing. I wanted my boys to also shine their little lights around people who needed to feel loved. The problem is, my sons needed love. They had a really tough time ending the last school year and were not treated the way they should be... and my heart was changed. We went to visit Harvest after some friends suggested it... and we instantly felt welcomed and happy about being there. Even then, though, my heart was not fully satisfied with the idea of them attending... until this:

I was standing outside of the boys' room hearing their little voices with them unaware. I heard Joe say to Matthew, "Can you imagine going to a school where the teachers are ALLOWED to tell us Jesus loves us?" That was it. That was the moment it all came together and a rush of peace came through my body. They were going. No matter what it took, they were going.

It turns out... I takes A LOT! ha ha ha Uniforms are, um, expensive; when you dont already have ANYTHING on the list! After about $1000, both boys' uniforms and school supplies were purchased! Wow! BUT... They look SO CUTE in them! (Pics to follow!)

The first day... they both put their full uniform on for the first time. I hadn't allowed them to wear the clothes until it was time for school (It was mostly the shoes that got them excited... they are all black)... They got their full uniform on, with their new "Big guy" backpacks... and they felt cool. They look so much older and so amazingly handsome, and they knew it. :) They walked a bit taller and just felt good about themselves.

After that first day of school... Joe was SO excited. He said, "Mama, I am friends with EVERYONE in my class and I even have a couple of best friends already!" ha ha... So great! Matthew was a bit less excited. He was having a hard time because he isn't quite as outgoing as Joe and didn't feel like he had made as many friends etc. I encouraged him that God made us all different and even if he just makes one new friend each day, that is just fine.

The second day of school... Joe gets into the van and says, "Guess WHAT!!?!".... "Every teacher knows my name!" ha ha ha... Now, where I come from, that's NOT a good thing! lol At Harvest, the teachers really make a great effort to get to know the kids, and even play with them at recess. Joe has really enjoyed a couple of the female teachers who have gone out and played, and he enjoyed bouncing the basketball and chatting with the principle! 

We are now about to finish week two. Matthew had a REALLY tough day a couple of days ago and I even had to leave him in tears. He was missing Prestwood and he wasn't really feeling like he had found his spot yet at Harvest. Turns out, he had gotten his name on the board! ACK! lol I talked to the teacher and she said he was doing great, but he is definitely learning the boundaries of their school... that he wasn't "in trouble" but kind of in a warning zone. I had a talk with him and assured him he was doing just fine, that I was not upset, and that he's just learning. 

Yesterday.... He got in the car after school and was so excited to tell me he was the first one to get his name on the board in GREEN... which apparently means he was one of the first to listen and do what he was told. :) He started to like the class a bit more! ha ha

We had our first day of chapel this tuesday... oh MAN did they look snazzy! 

Soooo... the adventure continues! I'm looking forward to watching their lives develop as they grow at Harvest Christian! :)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Apple Critters

Aaron took Matthew on an adventure, just the two of them... a donut shop began their fun. Matthew chose an Apple Fritter as his treat. Just like me, as a child, he wasn't able to finish it. :) The next day, Matthew grabbed his donut shop bag and said, "Can I finish my Apple Critter?" ;)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting for a play date...

Matthew and I are being goofy while we wait for a play date ... We talked about applesauce (he'd like it red, with no chunks, and cherry flavor added)... We talked about germs and tongues and blood. Then we were seeing how many chins we could have. :) 

Eventually, I called him a germ... He calls me a germ... I call him a germ with three chins... He calls me a germ with four eyes!! I said, "HEY!!!!" Lol 

That's my first time being picked on for being four eyed! :) 
#smartypants #foureyednfabulous

Friday, July 25, 2014


Some Facebook Status Updates that I need to remember here too! lol

After I kissed Aaron, I said, "We gotta show these boys how it's done." Then this happened:
Matthew: Uh Mama, I'm living alone.
Me: No you're not.
Matthew: Yes I am
Me: I will spank you, I want grand kids
Matthew: Ok, I'll look for a woman.

Matthew thought it was hilarious that his name is "Wet-Tam" backwards... So I asked Joe what his name was backwards. He says, "Enthusiastic Oj" (he says it Oj, not O.J.) lol

_________________________________________________________________________________Me: Matthew, what do you have? (thinking he took something)
Matthew: Powers.
Me: How many.
Matthew: 100,000
Me: What kind?
Matthew: I can't tell you that.
Me: Why?
Matthew: I can't tell you that either!
..... All I wanted to know is what he picked up! lol


Matthew, while riding his bike, "isn't it fun living in the crunchery?... Cuz we have more space to ride around." Lol Crunchery=country

(This one isn't so "funny" but I want to remember it!)
As we sat at dinner tonight, I noticed a couple of young teen boys in the lobby of the restaurant. They were FILLING their pockets with mints, and asked the lady for a to-go glass of water. I was feeling SO frustrated as I watched them take all of the mints while she wasn't there. I mentioned it to Aaron and he said, "They look like they might be homeless." I took a second to REALLY look at them, and my heart got itself in check and I felt compassion for them. I ended up following them outside and asking if they'd eaten. They were bashful and hiding their mint stash. I said, "I saw you guys getting those mints, and it looked like you were real hungry." I ended up getting to share my heart with them just a bit, and brought them in for dinner... after having them clean up the mess of mints they had made.  It was SO cute to take their orders and see the excitement on their faces. I'm so thankful we were able to give, I'm so thankful my husband helped me to really SEE them, and my boys got to see the Lord's hands in action. It ended up being $25 that changed MY life... I'm praying for those boys tonight and can't seem to get them off of my mind. I wish we could have done more!


Life is passing by TOO FAST these days. My days are SO full and I'm being blessed by clients being referred and even finding me on Yelp. I've just gotten over the 1500 mark of people who have "liked" my business page... It all seems very surreal to me and I'm often overcome by thankfulness. My work is not easy, well... sometimes it is... but when you work with tiny babies and children... there are unique and special challenges to each and every session. I feel so incredibly blessed to be doing something I love so much.

Today.... I'm heading out on an adventure with Matthew... Joe and Aaron are gone for the weekend, so we're off off and away! Have a great day!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Powers... By, Matthew.

Funny conversations....

Me: Matthew, what do you have? (thinking he took something)
Matthew: Powers.
Me: How many.
Matthew: 100,000
Me: What kind?
Matthew: I can't tell you that.
Me: Why?
Matthew: I can't tell you that either!
..... All I wanted to know is what he picked up! lol

Monday, June 23, 2014

Watch Dog On Duty!!

This morning, my boys and I... and Uncle Ricky were sitting out with our pups. Rick was playing with his watch and Matthew told him, "If you put it on Tiny, he'll be a Watch Dog!".... and then the fun started. :)

His face cracks me up in that last one, "You said WHAT?" lol

Look out folks, don't mess with our property... we have the fierce "Tiny" the watch dog on the property!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

"Can He Understand me?"

Oh man... Matthew, you are so cute!

You just walked in here with Tiny in your arms. He said, "Mama, he is not sitting nicely with me like Scrappy is with Joe." Then you said, "Oh, wait a minute, can he understand me?" I said, "No, he doesn't understand your words." You said, "Oh ok good!"  You were concerned that he'd understand you and you'd hurt his feelings. That was SO cute!

(When we were outside with the dogs, I walked ahead and you said, "Go Get Grandma son!") lol

Introducing Tiny & Scrappy

Yes, we have finally done it... We have adopted two awesome little puppies!

When Joe was about 5, he asked when we could have a dog. I said, "As soon as you're old enough to pick up it's poop." He looked over at his brother, who was 3, and said, "Nah, let's wait until Matthew is old enough." ha ha ha... Well, 4 years later, they are BOTH old enough and Joe has waited long enough that he is even willing to take part in the poop pick up duty.

I decided to start the process by fostering a litter... yes, I really did just say that! LOL I didn't realize quite how crazy I actually was in doing that... but, we've done it and it's fun.... at least with this litter. They have been very sweet, very playful, and have slept quietly at night etc. The clean up is the only downside!

Joe and Matthew have both been very good with their foster pups, never complaining about cleaning up after their messes or helping to walk them and wash them etc. Matthew instantly fell in love with the same little guy that tugged at my heart first as well: Meet Tiny:

Joe, on the other hand, fell in love with the one that most people would have looked the other way from. He's one of those ugly cute kind of critters. He does have a really fun personality... But Aaron was hoping for "Rosebud" (seen above with Tiny).  Please let me introduce you to Scrappy:

Here are some fun photos of the first time they met the pups! They had NO IDEA that we were fostering! :)