rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck: Blog en-us rileyroo photography [email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Tue, 17 Oct 2023 14:11:00 GMT Tue, 17 Oct 2023 14:11:00 GMT rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck: Blog 80 120 lettinggo Hard time letting go...

This Willow Tree statue was so lovingly given to me by my child life co-workers. They said it represents all those I've touched. The relaxed posture and the folded arms are just how I love to settle in to a conversation. This is how I can best know my patients and co-workers. There is one friend that I know sees me exactly like this because we sit across the office from each other. I'd turn around in my chair with my arms folded on the back to engage in our conversations. I will truly miss this with my co-workers and most of all with my ER patients. 

I'm on my way out of a career that made me some of the best friends I'll ever have and saw me through the best and hardest times of my life. Engagement, marriage, buying 2 houses, and having 6 babies can't begin to describe the growing up I've done in the ER as a Certified Child Life Specialist. My co-workers and my patients have molded me into the parent and wife that I am today. In some ways the impact is good, and in others it isn't. Working in a pediatric ER leaves you with stories (scars) that change you in ways you never thought possible. For this I am grateful and a bit less joyful than I was 15 years ago. I have much work to do in my spiritual journey and it needs to be done away from the ER.

This new era in my life does not feel like a new beginning. It just feels like how my life is supposed to be. I sort of had my last day at work this week. I've had close to a 15 year career in a job that left me feeling like I made a true impact. Not every one can say, "I made a difference," each day. I can. Every family changed me, and I know that I changed many.

I left very quietly when my "last" shift was over and didn't tell anyone goodbye. I think many didn't even know it was my "last" shift. It was easier that way. I felt a lot of emotions, but most of them were pretty subdued. I've been preparing mentally for this since May. I went into work thinking it was my last day, only to be offered to stay on PRN; for now. Someone was hired for my position, but a full-time coworker put in her resignation this week. So the new hire was offered the full-time position and she accepted. So my position is still open. I think the plan is to attempt to fill the position, but in the meantime I will stay on and help when I can. So it was my last day...but it wasn't. That made it all very strange for me when leaving. I'm grateful for the opportunity to work a few more shifts. If I can stay on PRN indefinitely I think that's what I'd like to do. The thought of handing over my badge and keys was making me sick to my stomach.

A little backstory here: I haven't always felt like I wanted to stay in Child Life. Two years into my career I remember crying my eyes out to my husband because I was so stuck. I was intellectually bored at work and couldn't believe the career I chose had already run its course. I teared up to my boss as well. It was in a bit of a different fashion than to my husband. I didn't let on about how miserable I was, but I made it clear that I needed more. She brainstormed with me and gave me a few projects. It was summertime and census is always slow in the summer. She chalked my funk up to slow census and got me through the summer with busy work. It helped, but I knew it wasn't enough. My husband was comforting, but didn't have much sympathy. We had a baby on the way and needed the income. Thankfully I was able to go part time after the baby was born, and the change is exactly what I needed. Having a baby changed my view on life and my view on being in a career of service. My job was suddenly taking brain power again! It isn't always easy to know how to help a family in their most vulnerable moments. It appears to others that helping children understand simple medical procedures, complex medical procedures, trauma, and death are very natural to me. I know this because I am told by families and co-workers on a regular basis. They don't see what is going on in my brain in the process though. There is a never ending list of factors and theories to consider. 

OLOL has taken care of me for years......not only in my career, but also in my personal endeavors. Robin, the manager of the gift shop, has sold and sold and sold my coloring books for years. She made sure to send me off with a little extra love in the form of her signature balloons and stuffed animal. I just love her!

The day I interviewed for this job there was a press conference in the playroom to announce that we were officially a Children's Hospital even though we were within an adult hospital. We were no longer just a pediatric floor! The changes were subtle and slow after that announcement. The goal was always to build a free standing hospital. Now the opening of the freestanding hospital is imminent! The changes to move to a new location are drastic and most of them are still very unclear. This is really exciting, yet unnerving. It has all been so hard for me and I couldn't figure out why. After all, I like change. When I was in college I thrived at Louisiana Tech University on the quarter system. Classes were short in weeks, but intense in content. As soon as I got in a good rhythm the quarter was over. Yet I was always happy to start new classes and a new daily routine. I never felt stuck and I always had to stay on my toes. I thrive at home in our family ecosystem. I believe that is very much for the same reason. As soon as we get in a good rhythm as a family a child grows and changes and the entire dynamic changes. I like it that way! It keeps my life interesting and challenging.

So why can't I accept the changes that are looming ahead with the hospital? After much reflection I believe the difficulty I've had accepting the new hospital is for a few reasons. One is that I'm not involved in the change. I've only worked two days a week for years. I'm not there enough to be involved or give the input I want. My department has been asked, but I'm not there to participate in any of the processes. That makes it harder for me to accept the change. When our department hours were cut this summer I had to start working every other weekend on the inpatient units. I haven't worked weekends on the inpatient units in at least 10 years! Maybe longer. I don't know the staff and I am the only one there for my department. I felt isolated and half the time didn't know where things were and what was going on. Not to mention being the only one responsible for the whole hospital's child life needs for 20 hours is daunting. So daunting that I found it easier to just wait for requests rather than seek out the needs. This left me unfulfilled. I just couldn't seem to shake that or fix it. The changes that came in my career after being so set in my ways were not up-lifting. I was sad my hours got cut. I was angry. I was hurt. Then I was excited because I was going to work less days in a month. I had high hopes for the new schedule to really work for the department, for me, and for my family. As much as I wanted it to work, it just didn't. I can do all the wanting in the world, but wanting isn't going to meet our needs. I am needed at home to care for our family. The job of "mother" is no joke people. I felt like I was playing house for years, but the last five have been much more challenging on all fronts.

Another reason I don't want to accept the changes is because I AM TIRED. I am burned out. I am not who I want to be when at work. My dear friend, and full-time co-worker, put her notice in this week and wrote a beautiful blog about her decision to pursue a new career. Still with children, but different. I loved reading her words about what led her to resign from one career and have "new beginnings" in another. I encourage you to read her words here: and to continue reading her post because she is amazing! I am not a writer, hence the choppiness of my post, but she is a real storyteller! For years I have viewed my job as a means to assist in providing for my family. I love what I do when I am in the thick of it with a patient, but my heart is 100% at home. When they go to bed I can work on my photography business, rileyroo photography, LLC and my child life private practice, Rachael C.A.R.E.S., LLC. To be honest though most days I'm too exhausted. So for now we are pinching a lot of pennies and when the baby goes to school I can hit the businesses full force. 

To finish this choppy spilling of my brain, I cannot even express the gratitude I have for my parents and my in-laws for loving my children and keeping them safe, for FREE, for many of my shifts for the last 13 years of our parenting journey. If it wasn't for free childcare I never would have been able to work and have so many children. The support they have given us over the years has made our life wonderful. I am excited that I don't need to use my family for such long hours for childcare anymore. God created us to be social and to help others. However, it is quite humbling to ask again and again without being able to give back. I have taken more than my share of help, and know that I will be able to give it back to others now. The cycle is beautiful and infinite. 

To all those I will no longer see, or rarely see...

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshot photographer covington louisiana child life specialist covington louisiana family photographer rileyroo photography blog Tue, 29 Jan 2019 05:16:42 GMT
Katy B R I D G E S

These girls...

This momma...

These girls with their daddy...


Oh and can you believe it actually looks like fall? What?!!!! We go from green to dead in South Louisiana. We don't usually get this sort of beauty for fall or winter photos. I am so thrilled about this tree making our photos look awesome! (Although the people are pretty enough on their own.)

I just adore the color palette Katy chose for their photos. They all coordinate, but aren't matchy match! Perfect! I know first hand that it isn't easy to dress everyone this way for a photo shoot, and she nailed it! 

Ok, so this little bit is ONE! Happy Birthday baby girl! I got to photograph her spending time with her family on her actual birthday. How cool is that? In hindsight I was thinking I should have brought a little birthday prop of sorts to the shoot, but then when editing I realized these are just perfect the way they are. This is life, this is family time. This was not "stress for a birthday photo". It was let's celebrate our healthy; whole family. I think we did just that and got some classic, timeless, portraits for baby's first birthday in the process. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshot photographer covington louisiana covington louisiana family photographer lifestyle newborn rileyroo photography blog Wed, 12 Dec 2018 03:53:44 GMT
smith The   awesome   Smith   kids!

I probably said it last year, and I'll say it again this year, these kids are so amazing! It was so challenging for a couple of years when they were younger. Now they rock out their sessions like pros! I just love getting to see them and photograph them.

Oh and doesn't this momma just dress them in the most precious clothes? They always coordinate, without being matchy match. Love it! 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshot photographer covington louisiana covington louisiana family photographer lifestyle newborn rileyroo photography blog Thu, 29 Nov 2018 01:00:53 GMT
BabyEverett6Months BABY   E V E R E T T

6 months

How precious is this? This family was a referral from another client years ago. I have just loved watching them grow so much. They are so full of joy and love! Every time I am with them I am so grateful for this job.  

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshot photographer covington louisiana covington louisiana family photographer lifestyle newborn rileyroo photography blog Wed, 28 Nov 2018 18:47:51 GMT

"Grandkids bring you into a sweeter, slower present. They show you the future at a time when a lot of your friends are thinking about the past. And they take you back to childhood--theirs, the Parent's, your own: a three-time admittance to wonderland."
-Adair Lara


It was seriously amazing working with a full crew of cooperative and smiling clients! They were all so awesome. I always forget to warn everyone before I start shooting that I am going to be ALL up in their business. I adjust hands, feet, hair, and arms non-stop. They were all so patient with me and really naturals at taking direction. I also really love their blue color scheme. They all looked fantastic together! 


Isn't this location gorgeous? Louisiana swamp = beautiful!  

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshot photographer covington louisiana covington louisiana family photographer lifestyle newborn rileyroo photography blog Wed, 31 Oct 2018 02:59:00 GMT
Charlie's Talented Art Portfolio TAP Portfolio

Charlie girl is full of free spirit in so many ways. She wants to do only what she wants to do when she wants to do it, and no more. Ever. She is a force to be reckoned with. She and Camille both said they wanted to apply for talented art around the same time last year. They both completed their portfolios this week. There were challenges with each of them, but especially in motivating Charlie. I should know by now what makes her tick, but I just don't. I lose my patience and so does she. I did learn towards the end to bribe her with "friend" time in order to wrap this up. She was initially unteachable, but became more and more open as we went through the process. Reflecting back on the experience makes me realize just how much she grew throughout. I am so proud of the way she changed and jumped over several hurdles. She is really hard on herself and tries not to let others see. Well I see, and I feel you kid. Me too babe, me too.


Free Time

Acrylic painting of a white skate on a canvas.SkatingI love to skate!


The Heart of Te Fiti

(not her intent, but we realized after it was finished)

Clay collected from Mae Mae's yard, wet, and formed into a bowl that was set in the sun to dry.   Bowl made from yard clay and painted in alternating bright green and brown rings.Clay bowl



We discussed lighting and composition for a long time. She took several photos of the pears she set up in different ways. Then she finalized in post processing on the computer.  (She definitely didn't love the computer side of it, but she thoroughly enjoyed the photographing.) 3 yard pears attached at the stem, sitting in grass, in front of stone wall. The beginnings of cobbler cake


The Way I See

Flower painting made using cut up, recycled materials

2 flowers of varying heights with thin blue/green petals and an orange and yellow center. The way I see



Chalk pastels.

This one is so simple, yet so wonderful.




Chalk pastels CharlieCharlie



Made by hammering real flowers onto watercolor paper.   CharlieCharlie



Acrylic on canvas




Acrylic on canvas



Reaching Many

Color Pencils on paper



Heaven's Gates




Pi, Pi, mathematical pi. 3.14159pi (sing to the tune of American Pie)



Oil pastels and graphite 

Double Whew! 2 kids in TAP, 2 applying. I get another 2 years (at least) before the next kid asks. If she doesn't, that's ok. However, she already has a pretty good eye. I may have to encourage Denis to do the pushing with her when the time comes. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Tue, 09 Oct 2018 03:26:51 GMT
Camille's Talented Art Portfolio TAP Portfolio

Camille has quite the eye. She has been wanting to try out for talented art since early last year. This is one determined little girl. She gets so frustrated with herself and cannot understand why her art doesn't look as good as Riley's. She has excellent vision and better than her age execution. She just doesn't understand that her art will not look like someone's who is twice her age. She will step away (aka storming and stomping loudly) from the project and come back shortly with new determination. She always gets the job done, and she does it well. 


Clay leaf dish

Kneaded clay, rolled out, pressed a real leaf into, cut out, baked, and painted






Witches Feet



Clay Dish

Made from clay dug up from Mae Mae's yard, mixed with water, formed into the dish, and baked in the sun. 



Day Lilies

This is a photograph taken by Camille after a discussion about light, cropping, and background. She also did post processing on the computer to choose the final cropping and contrast. 



Oil pastels CamilleCamille



Watercolor and marker






Gator CamilleCamille





My Night

On canvas with acrylic paint and glitter







My Books

This process was far from easy. I forgot how painful it was with Riley (I don't remember Paul being as difficult). She expressed the interest and desire, but 14 original pieces with varying mediums is a lot to ask of a child. Especially a 6 year old. Lucky for her she has a REALLY pushy momma. I know that sounds bad, but it's ok if she gets in and decides it isn't for her a few years from now. That's fine with me. I'm not looking to raise an entire family of artists, but I want them exposed to art history and to learn a bit more than the basics while they can. 

Whew, it's done! Now we wait for approval for state testing. I'm impressed even if they aren't. She is a really good listener that let me teach her a lot. I know a TAP teacher will be able to draw (pun intended) the best out of her. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Tue, 09 Oct 2018 03:02:17 GMT
How to get dad on board for a photo shoot 11 STEPS to Get Dad on Board for a Family Photo Shoot

1.) Wait for a decent day after many hot months.

2.) Realize you are all home at the same time.

3.) Tell husband you think you should set up the tripod and snap a new family photo.

4.) Run to closets to attempt to find complementing clothes.

5.) Go back to the living room to discover NO ONE else has moved an inch.

6.) Try to get their behinds in gear and listen to their whining. 

7.) Ask husband why he isn't helping.

8.) Try to be nice when he says, "This is crazy. I need at least a month notice to prepare mentally for this." 

9.) Wait 3 years, because you are so mad about the comment you acted blasé about, and husband will ask why he doesn't have a recent family photo to put in his office.

10.) Politely remind him of his comment from 3 years ago and offer to take a new photo whenever he is ready. 

Last but not least...

11.) Hire a photographer during good weather season and promise husband you will reward him for his good mood before, during, and after the shoot. 


We managed a last minute family photo on Christmas Eve a couple of years in a row. I was impressed with us. They aren't photo shoot quality like I want to have, but they worked for that time in our lives. One or more of us is kind of a mess in each. It's at least proof that we all belong together.





[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshot photographer covington louisiana covington louisiana family photographer lifestyle newborn rileyroo photography blog Mon, 24 Sep 2018 14:24:31 GMT
White W H I T E


Dad, Mom, three childrenOutdoor Photo shoot, Covington Louisiana

I haven't see this joyful gal since high school! It was such a pleasure to have her family in front of my camera. Sweet little Josie scraped her knee on the way to the car to come take photos. So they were running a few minutes behind. That made for some challenging lighting scenarios for me, but we made do. These kiddos were patient with my artistic self. I will say my lighting isn't as consistent as I prefer for a finished gallery, but overall we did great considering the sun was setting. 

Dad, Mom, three childrenOutdoor Photo shoot, Covington Louisiana

This boy is definitely 10 and definitely boy! He was fun and funny. I took quite a few photos and poses of him because he was having fun with it! Love love love this age! 

Dad, Mom, three childrenOutdoor Photo shoot, Covington Louisiana Dad, Mom, three childrenOutdoor Photo shoot, Covington Louisiana

Colt captured my heart right away with his quiet cooperativeness. Maybe he knew the other two would be more challenging. Ha!  Dad, Mom, three childrenOutdoor Photo shoot, Covington Louisiana

I never would have guessed Josie is only 3. She was such a little lady and followed my instructions so well. Her momma should be proud of Josie and proud of herself for teaching her.  Dad, Mom, three childrenOutdoor Photo shoot, Covington Louisiana

I always try and sneak just mom and dad in a photo together. I'm getting better at posing them too. Couples photography has never been my strong suit, but over time I'm figuring it out. My favorite is seniors and families. These 2 were fun to work with though. They were patient with the kids, and most of all patient with me!  Dad, Mom, three childrenOutdoor Photo shoot, Covington Louisiana

I can't even tell you in words how happy this sibling picture makes me. I mean, look at it! Look at it again. So adorable!!!! That little blond headed Colt makes it perfect doesn't he? That grin is awesome!  Dad, Mom, three childrenOutdoor Photo shoot, Covington Louisiana

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshot photographer covington louisiana covington louisiana family photographer lifestyle newborn rileyroo photography blog Sat, 15 Sep 2018 04:04:15 GMT
Morrison M O R R I S O N

In hindsight I didn't take nearly enough photos of this crew. I really could have spent ALL day with them. I kind of wish I had. Coolest, neatest, most awesome, rad, amazing, God-loving people I've ever met.

Starting with these two...

then came Luke...

...then came Lydia...
...then came Abigail... ...then came Julia... ...then came Adam... ...then came Rebecca... ...then came Victoria.
I have NEVER and I mean NEVER had this many people in a photo together be so cooperative. Ever. Oh and adults are the worst at not looking at the camera, or playing with their hair, or talking to their children. I expect it to be difficult with kids, but not these kids. My own children act like goof balls when I try to get them all together. My oldest two are the worst. They insist on funny poses or goofy faces. Not this crew. Nope. They sat there. They let me adjust hands, feet, legs, and hair. Then they stayed that way so I could take the photo. I mean what kind of magic is this? I need some parenting lessons from their awesome momma and daddy! I want 1,000 more photos of this crew. I have a lot of ideas and things I'd love to do with them. The littlest human was getting kind of sweaty and antsy, so we called it quits a little early. The cool thing is I got to go see their chickens and goats. That should be a whole shoot in and of itself. Next time..



[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshot photographer covington louisiana covington louisiana family photographer lifestyle newborn rileyroo photography blog Wed, 29 Aug 2018 18:10:09 GMT
Jennifer B E N N E T T


Mom holding baby boy, dad holding big sister. Big sister reaching over to touch baby boy on head.Covington, LA family photographerFamily photography, covington, LA


My favorite part of photography is watching my families grow and change. I am so thankful this family chose me as their photographer for baby E's whole first year of life. This is only the second session and I love how much they've all grown into their roles as a family of 4. 

Mom holding baby boy, dad holding big sister. Big sister reaching over to touch baby boy on head.Covington, LA family photographerFamily photography, covington, LA Mom holding baby boy, dad holding big sister. Big sister reaching over to touch baby boy on head.Covington, LA family photographerFamily photography, covington, LA Mom holding baby boy, dad holding big sister. Big sister reaching over to touch baby boy on head.Covington, LA family photographerFamily photography, covington, LA


I took this photo of the flowers before our session began. I was letting my camera acclimate to the humidity while waiting to get started. I also got to meet the neatest 94 year old man out that was out for a walk. He is a WWII veteran and was proudly wearing his hat. He let me take his photo! I won't share it here because I didn't get a signed model release, but it came out so precious. I'm going to print and mail it to him (I made sure to get his address because he doesn't use the internet). Mr. Robert told me all about his wife and children and asked me all about my family. Pinch me because this isn't really my job is it? I mean how fun is that? Waiting to get a shoot started and getting to chat it up with a stranger was so much fun! I hope I get many more of those opportunities in my lifetime. 

Mom holding baby boy, dad holding big sister. Big sister reaching over to touch baby boy on head.Covington, LA family photographerFamily photography, covington, LA


E's big sister also had photos taken in this chair when she was his age. Their momma is going to love comparing them when printed. 

Mom holding baby boy, dad holding big sister. Big sister reaching over to touch baby boy on head.Covington, LA family photographerFamily photography, covington, LA

Mom holding baby boy, dad holding big sister. Big sister reaching over to touch baby boy on head.Covington, LA family photographerFamily photography, covington, LA


Here's big sister in the same chair. It'll be fun to look at her 3 month and her 3 year side by side as well! 

Mom holding baby boy, dad holding big sister. Big sister reaching over to touch baby boy on head.Covington, LA family photographerFamily photography, covington, LA Mom holding baby boy, dad holding big sister. Big sister reaching over to touch baby boy on head.Covington, LA family photographerFamily photography, covington, LA Mom holding baby boy, dad holding big sister. Big sister reaching over to touch baby boy on head.Covington, LA family photographerFamily photography, covington, LA


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshot photographer covington louisiana covington louisiana family photographer lifestyle newborn rileyroo photography blog Thu, 23 Aug 2018 04:15:28 GMT
First Friday First Friday Holy Hour 

First Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Church, AdorationFirst Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Churchrileyroo photography by Rachael Beck We love going to Holy Hour so much. My kids go to child care and have the best time making crafts, watching movies, playing outside, and eating popcorn. I get an hour to praise Jesus in such a beautiful way.


There is always live music from various super talented people that sing their hearts out for our sweet Jesus. I can't thank them enough for that precious hour where I can sing my heart our too (I have zero musical talent, but there are enough people singing that it doesn't matter that I add my voice to it). Through that music I can quiet my brain and find rest when I am there. It is a refreshing way to start my weekend once a month. I am so thankful to my sweet friend that invited me a year or so ago. I've gone ever since. My mom, dad, and sister joined me once. Denis has joined me a few times, and my dad has several more times. 


I took these photos so the coordinator can use them in the promotion of Holy Hour on social media. We want to spread the word so that more people can share in this wonderful time with us. Feel free to share this post. If you see the invite on Facebook please invite others even if you cannot attend. 

First Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Church, AdorationFirst Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Churchrileyroo photography by Rachael Beck First Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Church, AdorationFirst Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Churchrileyroo photography by Rachael Beck First Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Church, AdorationFirst Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Churchrileyroo photography by Rachael Beck First Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Church, AdorationFirst Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Churchrileyroo photography by Rachael Beck First Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Church, AdorationFirst Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Churchrileyroo photography by Rachael Beck First Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Church, AdorationFirst Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Churchrileyroo photography by Rachael Beck First Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Church, AdorationFirst Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Churchrileyroo photography by Rachael Beck First Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Church, AdorationFirst Friday Holy Hour St. Benedict's Catholic Churchrileyroo photography by Rachael Beck

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Covington Holy Hour LA Sun, 12 Aug 2018 05:07:54 GMT
Randi R a n d i


Randi loves her dog, her truck, and being active. We tried to show that with some of her photos. (Her truck was in the shop on shoot day so we will have to get a few with it at a later date).

I will say that beautiful dog is BIG and STRONG! Which means Randi has to be strong too. It was fun watching them together.

This property was seriously awesome to be on. There were too many great spots to choose from, so we hopped from one to the next. We didn't even touch the surface of the perfect shooting spots! I mean just look at the character of the surroundings in every shot! This place has a story of its own to tell. 

Randi was the most genuine person to work with. We took a few minutes to warm up to each other and learn to communicate (which is key when photographing seniors). Once we did we took soooo many photos! I stayed way longer than intended (again that property), and took way more photos than normal. Randi was an awesome subject and worked with me until we found what was best for both of us (and her sweet momma). I love so much when clients share their ideas with me. I know what I'm doing, but they are the ones that make each shoot unique. It's harder to truly show the person I photograph if they don't bring something to the table as well. Randi and her mom were great at that!

Oh and I can't thank the momma's of these seniors enough for being my assistants by hauling my reflector around and positioning it for me. They are quick learners! 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) 2019 Covington LA Photography Portrait Randi Senior Sat, 11 Aug 2018 17:59:34 GMT
NicaudFamily N i c a u d   F a m i l y

This momma's priority was a great family photo and by golly I think we got it! 

Family photography covington louisianaFamily photography covington louisiana

As I was taking photos of this crew and listening to mom and grandfather direct/correct the kids I thought to myself, "huh, that sounds just like me." Or at least what I think I sound like. My sister won't talk to me on the phone when my kids are home or awake because I'm so scattered and have sudden outbursts. It was refreshing to hear someone else sound like me. You know what, it didn't even sound bad. I always thought I did. It just sounded like an adult doing what they are supposed to do with their children. It was great! 

Family photography covington louisiana, Portrait photography, outdoor photography, natural light photographyFamily photography covington louisiana, Portrait photography, outdoor photography, natural light photography Family photography covington louisiana, Portrait photography, outdoor photography, natural light photographyFamily photography covington louisiana, Portrait photography, outdoor photography, natural light photography Family photography covington louisiana, Portrait photography, outdoor photography, natural light photographyFamily photography covington louisiana, Portrait photography, outdoor photography, natural light photography

Momma wanted this boy to show his teeth when he smiled, but he flat out refused. I just want to say to her that I think this is an EXCELLENT photo of her 3 little loves. I hope to get one of my six like this soon. I'll take smirks and looking at the camera in a heart beat. :) 

Family photography covington louisiana, Portrait photography, outdoor photography, natural light photographyFamily photography covington louisiana, Portrait photography, outdoor photography, natural light photography I love family dynamics! Since I took a few courses in college I've always been fascinated. Once I had my own kids I found I started to do my job as a Certified Child Life Specialist a bit better. I mentally pick my family dynamics apart all the time. It is so super interesting. In turn, this helps me help other families during some of the most stressful times of their lives. I love getting to see the dynamics in my photography clients! Maybe that's why I love family photography so much.  Family photography covington louisiana, Portrait photography, outdoor photography, natural light photographyFamily photography covington louisiana, Portrait photography, outdoor photography, natural light photography

I don't think I can ever say enough how amazing grandparents are. 


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshot photographer covington louisiana covington louisiana family photographer lifestyle newborn rileyroo photography blog Tue, 07 Aug 2018 18:29:57 GMT

I know so very many families living with disabilities. There are such a wide range of needs that the general population isn't even aware of. To many people, adult and children alike, look "normal". Whatever that means, because who's really normal? Right? We all have God given talents. Some are more noticeable to the public, some not. Maybe the people that seem even keel, AKA normal, are subdued. In turn it makes those with obvious differences the normal ones. Are you following me? 

To clarify, this is referring to families that have disabilities that aren't obvious to the public. Another day I'll feature a family on the obvious side of the disability range.

For today I'm featuring this amazing mom and son that self advocate to find the sensory accommodations they need. Not only have they helped themselves, they've helped so many others. (Be sure to follow our Facebook business page for more about that story later.)

Meet Anne and Michael

I had so much fun photographing them together. This cat wandered into our shoot. We don't know him, so of course we were wary. (However, I do know that he is well taken care of and belongs to a neighbor.) So Anne was comfortable letting Michael interact with the cat. Michael had an obvious fasciation, and Anne had a love for this creature that I could feel as she was talking about him after he wandered off.

This whole photo session was like an adventure for Michael and Anne. They just spent time together as a mother and son and I got to capture that! Is this really my job? Pinch me please so I can be sure. (Be gentle though or I might come back at you. I'm a feisty little thing). 

Covington, Louisiana portrait photographer photographing families with disabilities. Families with disabilities, covington, louisiana portrait photographer, senior photographer, rileyroo photography, Rachael Beck

 Initially I wouldn't have guessed Michael has a disability, but the more I interacted with him the more I knew. I'm not sure everyone would have picked up on it as soon as I did, but my college degree is Family and Child Studies so I have a bit more knowledge about that whole "normal" thing than most. Anne has to keep close reigns on Michael, yet at the same time she finds a way to give him quite a bit of freedom. It was fascinating to watch as a mother and as a child development expert.  Covington, Louisiana portrait photographer photographing families with disabilities. Families with disabilities, covington, louisiana portrait photographer, senior photographer, rileyroo photography, Rachael Beck

One of Anne's goals for the session was to really capture who and what they are together. We wanted to tell their story in photos, so we chose fishing to be part of the session. It is something they do together on a regular basis. They had a great time and taught me a couple of fishing tips in the process! Michael insisted that I fish. Thankfully we were running out of daylight and time so I got out of that one, whew! 

Covington, Louisiana portrait photographer photographing families with disabilities. Families with disabilities, covington, louisiana portrait photographer, senior photographer, rileyroo photography, Rachael Beck Covington, Louisiana portrait photographer photographing families with disabilities. Families with disabilities, covington, louisiana portrait photographer, senior photographer, rileyroo photography, Rachael Beck Covington, Louisiana portrait photographer photographing families with disabilities. Families with disabilities, covington, louisiana portrait photographer, senior photographer, rileyroo photography, Rachael Beck

A couple of my children have had speech delays and one a minor developmental delay. Just those little tiny things made our lives busier and harder for a time. Anne's struggles will last for all the years to come. It is so hard for me, and I'm sure the general population, to imagine what life would be like having a child with a disability. I have 2 nephews with disabilities as well, and know that my sister and my brother do not get to live "normal" lives and never will. However, I can say with certainty that they have found and continue to re-find their normal more often than I can comprehend. 

If you made it through my rambling and you are a family with a disability I'd like to offer a discount for a photo session. A regular session with me cost $250, but I'd like to offer the same session package for $220 for families with disabilities. Click here to see the details. This would be the session listed first on the page. Check it out and connect with me. Be sure to tell me you saw this post and that you are a family with a disability. Please know that I truly want to do a free session for every family with disabilities that wants one. There are two roadblocks to that though. 1. I'd get overwhelmed and not be able to to all of the work. 2. I have to feed 6 little mouths at home. So for now the best I can offer is a discount.

I hope you all have a great day and feel a little more open to loving those around you. You never know when a mom, dad, grandparent, or sibling of a child with or without an obvious disability needs a little extra love. ~Rachael

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshots covington louisiana Covington Louisiana family photographer families with disabilities lifestyle in home photographer newborn lifestyle senior photography Thu, 02 Aug 2018 17:47:27 GMT
Chloe C h l o e

2019 Senior

This young lady is amazing! It is quite normal to feel shy in front of a camera. Chloe certainly did starting out, but warmed right up.

She had EXCELLENT suggestions as well. She was so much fun to be with and work with. I can only hope I'll have some reason to photograph her again one day. One time wasn't enough! 

Isn't Chloe just stunning? I took many more photos than necessary, and had a VERY hard time narrowing it down to my normal 30 in a session. Her skin, her hair, her eyes, and her style...

There was something about going back to my hometown (even though I don't live far) and experiencing the atmosphere with the morning regulars. Classic cars parked outside the cafe, old men standing around visiting, and the alligator sleeping were all enough to make me nostalgic. What a wonderful town!

Chloe had major back surgery a year ago. Despite that, she is on the swim team. You wouldn't believe the muscles this girl has! Maybe she should train me. :) Anyhow, she certainly earned the right to rock this letter jacket! 

If I have one regret it's that I didn't have senior portraits like this taken of myself. I worked the summer before my senior year, so I certainly could have paid for it. I know my kids would love looking back at me in my youth. I know I'd enjoy looking back and seeing myself right when I was not ready/ready to tackle the world outside of this hometown. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) 2018 Chloe photography senior Mon, 30 Jul 2018 04:39:42 GMT
Aucoin Family A u c o i n   F a m i l y

You would never guess by looking at these beautiful people that we took these photos in July in Louisiana. IT. IS. HOT. Despite that little fact I can say with confidence that we all finished this shoot with smiles on our faces and laughter in our hearts. We all had a good time!

Aucoin FamilyCovington Louisiana family photographer, portrait photography, Rachael Beck, rileyroo photography Aucoin FamilyCovington Louisiana family photographer, portrait photography, Rachael Beck, rileyroo photography

Oh boy, all boy! His momma told me he likes art and drawing, so I attempted some related conversation during my one on one photos with him. I have a son that is a talented artist, so you'd think I could come up with some decent conversation right? Wrong! I was in full artist mode myself and my social skills just couldn't keep up. So I asked him what he likes to draw. To which he responded, "anything." So I said, ummmmm (because my brain had nothing). Then, ok so you would draw a dog chasing his tail? Can we say lame attempt at connecting and getting your subject to give a genuine smile? Regardless of my inadequacy, he photographs so handsomely!  Aucoin FamilyCovington Louisiana family photographer, portrait photography, Rachael Beck, rileyroo photography

This singer and dancer nailed every pose I suggested. She was kind, fun, and so full of joy. I have NEVER in my life said I wanted to go back to my childhood, and especially not to my teenage years. She just kind of makes me want to though. Oh she wants a camera, so she was really interested in what I was doing. I just loved when she was fascinated with the bokeh when looking at a few photos on my camera screen. One day when I really have consistency with my technique I'd love to do some teaching for a few friends that have expressed interest. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshot photographer covington louisiana covington louisiana family photographer lifestyle newborn rileyroo photography blog Sun, 29 Jul 2018 20:16:28 GMT
Quinn's Monthly Pictures Quinn's first year monthly progress...


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[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) lifestyle newborn Quinn rileyroo photography blog Sat, 20 Jan 2018 19:41:40 GMT
Quinn's Baptism & Etta's Birthday The Baptism and Birthday bash began like this...

We prayerfully chose these experienced godparents for Quinn. With a family so large she's going to need lots of prayers to stay sane in the midst of it all.

Julie is Denis' cousin, and her mother is Denis' godmother. (What a fun connection in addition to being family.)

I think most of you know, but just in case you don't, the handsome fella we chose to be godfather is my forever devoted brother. 

We feel so blessed to have such an amazing family devoted to prayer and ready to guide/push our little one into the arms of Jesus throughout her life.


Deacon Dennis blessing the water to make it holy.

Here is the maker and the wearer of this beautiful baptismal gown that's been passed down for years. 

My mother never disappoints. Here's another fantastic cake in the books! 

  Quinn BaptismQuinn Baptism

Once again, my mother ROCKS! We sent her a picture earlier in the week of Etta wearing this kitty cat apron. She showed up to the party with a birthday cake to match! 


...and we ended with party animals. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Camille Etta rileyroo photography blog Wed, 17 Jan 2018 22:20:24 GMT

In preparation for Quinn's baptism I had a little bit of fun photographing the family baptismal gown my mother made.

This gown has been worn by my mother's children (except one twin, Teresa, because two can't wear it at the same time) and all of their children.

My mother's children that wore the gown: Tony, Carrie, Jessica, Jaime, Rachael

My mother's grandchildren that have worn the gown: Emily, Cooper, Nicholas, Jacob, Reed, Riley, Paul, Charlie, Camille, Etta, and very soon Quinn.


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) baptism Quinn Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:39:24 GMT
Snow Day! SNOW DAY! 

I guess this was the right year to buy a giant white van and name it Snowstorm. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) 2017 day snow Fri, 08 Dec 2017 21:16:50 GMT

Oh sweet girl you weren't even THAT early, but you fooled us all into thinking you were just fine for about an hour. You really are just fine now though. You were well above your birthweight before your due date. You are really a champ! We have had a busy couple of weeks home, and couldn't be happier that you are here with us! 

Mom and Nanny Jaime worked so hard during your first photo shoot at home. This yellow and white crochet blanket is super special. It was mom's when she was a baby. Her aunt made it many moons ago, and now you get to use it. 

14 days14 days

Many things happened during the time you were still in the hospital. Mom had to take all of your siblings for eye doctor appointments. Mom made the appointments for when we thought she would still be pregnant with you. She was 4 days too late with that plan. Oops. After spending 2 days in a row at the eye doctor, instead of at the hospital with you, the only kid that ended up needing glasses is the oldest. It was still time well spent since mommy got some 1:1 time with each of the other kids. 

Happy Thanksgiving! This was an especially hard day for your mom. The nurse practitioner was letting mom nurse you. Dad had been at work all week and mom had been finding various family members to watch the other kids so she could be at the hospital. Your dad was finally home for a day and it was Thanksgiving. Dad wanted mom at home to celebrate and mom just wanted to be at the hospital with you. Mom was able to spend 3 hours with you before Thanksgiving lunch (even though dad wanted her home sooner). The kids made these awesome utensil holders and prayers for us to say together before lunch. After lunch we drove to the Christmas tree farm to pick out our tree. (Not much gets in the way of your dad's traditions, including a baby in the hospital.) Mom was super emotional because of this. In hindsight it was a great thing for your mom to spend the day with your dad, the other kids, and to pick out our tree.

Your dad made this super awesome sweet potato dish that met all of your mom's special diet requests. Thanks dad! 

This is real life right here Quinn. Picking out a tree on Thanksgiving, an hour from home, with you in NICU, cold weather (and not dressed appropriately), one kid crying, one smiling, one looking exactly like her mother, one being goofy, and one looking grumpy. Despite all of that, you can see from the pictures below that it was a really fun adventure! 

Just a few short days later your mom and dad went to the hospital the second they would let them into the NICU so they could wait to be discharged with you. 

After all the pain of getting you here and getting you healthy this was the best photo you could manage with your mom. Ha! Thanks kid. 

Mom took a traditional on the scale photo right after birth with the other 5 kids. That wasn't an option with you, so she grabbed one right before discharge from the NICU. It isn't accurate since you are fully clothed, but it'll have to do. You were actually 5 pounds 6 ounces that day; the tiniest of all the Beck babies. 

Mom and dad had to buy this gigantic commercial van to fit you in for family adventures - you are well worth it baby girl! 

Here are your 5 siblings in awe of you when mom and dad brought you in the house for the first time. Mom and dad wouldn't let any of them touch you because they all had colds, but that didn't keep them from staring at you for a loooooong time.  

Your first Christmas ornament gets to represent your hospital stay. It includes your pulse ox, EKG leads, preemie pacifier, hat, and hospital band. We couldn't fit your eye mask, ear muffs, and blood pressure cuff so mom saved them in your keepsake box. 

Paul was the first big sibling to hold you after you got home. He just adores you! 

He was also the photographer for your first bath at home. Good job Paul. 


1 big sister finally getting to hold you.

Another big sister finally getting to hold you.

A third big sister finally getting to hold you.

14 days14 days

Our little fighter! 

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Only as big as her stuffed animal. 

You were done with photos for the day. 

You fit in your homemade stocking, with room to spare, from Aunt Re!

Your future bed in the bunk room. You are so so tiny, but we know you will grow faster than we want. 

The snuggle is seriously real. You LOVE snuggles, and we love giving them to you. 


Mom will keep taking a million pictures like she did with the rest of your siblings, because you are perfect and wonderful! We thank God every single day for the blessing of you. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) christmas covington holidays louisiana photographer rachael beck rileyroo photography senior photography thanksgiving time tree Thu, 07 Dec 2017 23:31:08 GMT
Welcome to the World Welcome to the BIG, BAD, MEAN world

 Quinn Colice Beck

I'm not sure what made me set up the tripod while the kids were at school last Monday, but it dawned on me that I only had 1 other picture of being pregnant with Quinn and it was from months ago. I really thought I had at least another week. Then while I was editing the photos I started feeling weird. I was having a lot of contractions and cold sweats. I wasn't really in a lot of pain; I just didn't feel right. In conversation with the nurse practitioner we decided it would be best that I go in to the assessment center to get checked out. At my appointment the Thursday before the NP said I was 3 cm dilated and I shouldn't work in Baton Rouge that weekend. I chose to go to work anyhow because I couldn't imagine starting my leave and not having her yet. That just didn't make sense to me. I'm glad I went to work. I don't, in any way, think that contributed to having her early. It was an easy weekend shift (they aren't usually). So back to Monday: since I wasn't feeling right and was 3 cm dilated I went to the assessment center. The nurse put me at 1.5 cm dilated with consistent contractions, but said they weren't strong. So they sent me home. I was TICKED! What do you mean? The NP got it wrong? It's a really good thing I went to work over the weekend. I probably won't have her for another 2 weeks.

So I spent ALL day Tuesday attacking my house. Denis couldn't figure out what I was doing. I said to him that when you are pregnant, hormonal, and angry for having to cancel a paid photo shoot with a repeat client so you can "get checked," you take it out on your house. I didn't want to have her Monday, I didn't want to have her before 38 weeks. Regardless, I sure was mad about the false info. from the NP and new info. from the assessment center. 

I wasn't so angry by Wednesday. I was feeling better about things and glad I could go to work the next day. Denis and I took Etta to school, went for a free pedicure (I had an awesome coupon), and went to lunch. It was a wonderful relaxing day together. He even said "I'm trying to take advantage of this time with my beautiful wife before we have a baby in tow. I'd like to be able to take you out at least one more time before we have her." 

Thursday morning Denis went to my appointment with me. He had his day planned out for after and I was headed to work. Well my clueless self went in to my appointment and the doctor said, "you are 4-5 cm dilated and 60% effaced, you can go have a baby today if you want." Wait, what? What did you just say? I'm not ready for this. I'm going to work tonight. Denis said, "um, no you aren't. Even if you don't go to the hospital you aren't going to work. Not an option. That's not safe." The doctor wasn't comfortable with me wanting to go home and stay home. She really felt like I'd go into full labor within the next 24 hours and accidentally have her at home (my last labor was unbelievably fast and I barely made it to the hospital.) Knowing she was a bit early we felt it best to go in, start antibiotics for GBS, and break my water at lunch time to increase the contractions. So we went home, got the camera, Denis ate a very early lunch, I snuck a banana, and he started picking up the house a bit. I'm standing there crying and saying if you don't hurry up I'm changing my mind and we aren't doing this today! So he stepped it up a bit. He worked the night before and got about 4 hours of sleep. He got up to run that morning, put all the kids on the bus, took Etta to school with me, and then went to my appointment. He'd already had a full day and we knew it was about to be even fuller. Good man; what a good man. 

Waiting, and waiting, and more waiting...

We were spoiled with how fast the last baby arrived. We didn't know what to do with ourselves while waiting on antibiotics, waiting on the doctor to break my water, waiting on contractions to pick up, waiting...

Once they picked up it was manageable, but miserable. I wasn't making much progress. Then all of a sudden the contractions started getting strong. Really strong. However, when they checked me I still wasn't making much progress.They swore it was just transition and I swore they better start some pitocin to make things happen faster. So they humored me and started it. I had her 10 minutes later. Oh and why did I have to push again? The last baby fell out. Literally fell out. I was not a happy camper that I actually had to push. Of course everyone else thinks that's funny. Well I don't. 

I got to hold her for about an hour and eventually convinced her to nurse. As soon as she did I jumped up for a shower and handed her to Denis. Riley and Nanny came to meet her and each had a moment holding her. As soon as they left I noticed she was nasal flaring and grunting. I didn't think her color looked good either. I called the nursery nurse and they took her right away. They attempted with O2 in the nursery to just give her a little boost, but that obviously didn't work. So she was whisked to NICU and went downhill over the next 24 hours. 

Looking back at this photo I can see how terrible her color is. I don't know how we didn't notice it until 10 minutes later! 

Sweet baby girl didn't get a bath for 4 or 5 days (I don't remember when exactly, just that I cried for 30 minutes after I found out the night nurse bathed her without me when I still wasn't allowed to touch her). That matted hair was driving me crazy for days. 

She ended up on 5 LPM and 100% O2 which led to intubation. They were worried they would blow her lung and need to put in a chest tube.


Again, these were some initial stats that slowly declined over 24 hours. Her little lungs were definitely not ready for this world.  She ended up in the 70's with tachypnea and wouldn't improve. 

True liquid gold here. I was devastated they couldn't give it to her initially. It seemed like forever, but they were able to add in feeds through the OG sooner than later. 

Nanny Jaime welcomed Quinn with a beautiful flower arrangement that made my room smell amazing and brightened my spirits! Nanny to the rescue (as always)! 

I was able to hold her the morning after she was born (with a lot of begging). Denis had gone home for a bit so I advocated for him to hold her when he got there as well. So when he did he scrubbed in and put a gown on. Then the NP came over and read us the riot act. Basically she needed to be minimal stimulation and we weren't allowed to touch her, much less hold her. What?! They were trying to avoid intubation. So I asked for skin to skin contact in an attempt to regulate her breathing and they didn't go for that either. So my momma heart was broken once again. 

I had Denis stick his hand in for a photo despite their rules. Which calmed her a little (no surprise), but I had to be able to trust our doctors and nurses even if I didn't agree with them 100%. 

I couldn't believe how great she looked while on the vent. It gave me way more peace than when she was on vapotherm. I was terrified she would poop out with that kind of breathing and tachypnea and they'd need to emergently intubate. I've seen enough of those in my job to last me a lifetime. I knew we were better off with it controlled. About 34 hours after birth they decided she wasn't going to adjust to this world on her own and she needed surfactant though the vent. She got 2 doses 12 hours apart and stayed on the vent a while after. She transferred back to vapotherm with success a while later. She stayed on vapotherm another several days and they VERY slowly weaned her off. This momma thought it would never happen. 

My awesome friend that's had 2 preemie babies came to check on me Friday. She walked into my room and shoved this little bunny down my shirt before hugging me. Huh? Oh! I get it. It's to leave my scent with my baby that I'm not allowed to touch. Thank you dear friend. I know this brought me more comfort than it did Quinn. I am eternally grateful for that comfort. It seriously helped me to know I was leaving part of me with her. 

These were 5 very excited siblings that were super sad very soon after when they learned they couldn't see their new baby. They've handled all of this so well. I think it would have been easier if they weren't on break. The normalcy of school would have helped them even more. Despite their freedom of Thanksgiving break, they were amazing with the whole situation.

Here they are getting their first and only peek (except Riley - she did get to come hold her the night she was born) through a window and across the NICU. 

I think I can, I think I can, I know I can. Ugh, setting an alarm to get up over and over in the night to pump is terrible. It's completely different then getting up to snuggle and nurse your newborn. This is 100% impersonal, lonely, and never ending! It did get slightly easier when I realized I have 3 sets of pump pieces so I don't have to wash and steam them during the night. I could just use a new set and then clean them all in the morning. 

Charlie's Rite of Enrollment was scheduled when I was still in the hospital. Paul knew it was something I would have been taking pictures of, so he pulled out an old camera and tripod that I gave him and said, "Come on, let's take a picture for mom." This boy is surely after my heart. Thank you dear son. You are amazing. 

We still aren't home with our baby girl yet, but we are so close. We are planning for tomorrow. I am so emotionally tired. I have to ask permission from everyone just to go see my baby. I have to ask the NICU, I have to ask my husband when he's home (he went back to work so he can be off when she comes home), or I have to find a sitter. It is near impossible. I might get to spend 2 hours with her each day. There was one day I got about 4 in a row. There were a couple where I was able to go 2 times a day. The last several it's only been once a day and for just a few hours. Even then it is inconveniencing other people and taking my time away from the other kids while they are on break. For example, last night I just wanted to go back to the hospital with Quinn, yet I wanted to go to the Christmas tree farm to pick out and cut down a tree like we always do on Thanksgiving. I was so torn and ended up doing what would please the most people. Our tree is beautiful (crooked on the stand, but beautiful) and the kids love it. They had a great time running around the farm and critiquing the trees until they decided the one their dad and I picked was the best one after all. 

We have the house ready for Quinn and we are just waiting on her to finish healing so we can bring her home.

Thank you all for your love and prayers. We have felt them through this all. 


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshots covington louisiana Covington Louisiana family photographer families with disabilities lifestyle in home photographer newborn lifestyle senior photography Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:00:39 GMT
Back To School Junior High

This girl couldn't wait to get back to school. She is so excited about the year! She was stoked about having a locker and not having teachers walk them from class to class. She hasn't fussed at me for staying at the bus stop with her yet (none of the other Junior High parents do), so until she does we will go with her. 

3rd Grade

This sweet fella didn't want to go back. He loved being home this summer and learning to beat Super Mario Brothers. We had a great time together. Have to get back at it though buddy! It took a bit of teasing to make him look alive in the photos, so then we ended up with goofy. Which is perfect for him! 

2nd Grade

There's only 1 photo of Charlie since she wore the school t-shirt with the name of the school all over it. I have more photos, but I'm not going to share them here. Her friends kept photo bombing when I was taking pictures. They were all laughing and having a great time. Charlie loved it. See the creepy eye behind her? That kid is so much fun! 

We officially have a kindergartner again! This child was so excited to get on the bus and head to school. It helps that she's so familiar with the school and teachers already because of her big siblings. I hope the reality of every day school doesn't squelch that excitement.  


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshots covington louisiana Covington Louisiana family photographer families with disabilities lifestyle in home photographer newborn lifestyle senior photography Mon, 14 Aug 2017 02:55:28 GMT
Staycation 2017 Our van is getting super old and we didn't want to chance traveling out of town in it this summer. We are looking to replace it, but we aren't quite ready. So we promised the kids we would have a staycation on dad's days off from work. So far we've made it to the Aquarium, skating, bowling, and swimming. I only took photos of skating and swimming, but it was all fun! 

I just love the head leaning here.

Her daddy called her Hermione Granger here because it looked like she was trying to magic the ball the way she wanted it to go.

This one was such a great cheerleader for her siblings. She makes things extra fun! 

How about that 1 finger high five? Silly girl. 

We always have to have a fit during outings. Thankfully it didn't last long.

When you get tired...

Charlie was the kid winner, but dad didn't trump her by much. We are all terrible! It was fun anyhow though.

On to skating = pictures with terrible lighting. I love that my camera can actually take a photo is such low light. In hindsight I should have used my flash bounced off the ceiling, but I was trying not to cause much disturbance to the skaters. 

Etta was not a fan of her skates, so she stuck with tennis shoes.


This child is an amazing skater! She practices all the time in the foyer at home, but she seriously rocked out at the skating rink! I'm thoroughly impressed by this 5 year old! 


She's been skating in the foyer for years as well and had a blast at the rink! I wish I had the stamina these kids have. 

Riley was pleasantly surprised by her friend showing up while we were skating. They had a great time together. They aren't rock stars like the younger ones, but they haven't skated in years. It was fun to see how much better they got by the end of the night. They pick up on things so quickly. 


Etta's kind of fun when she gets restless.

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) family time rileyroo photography blog summer time Thu, 27 Jul 2017 15:06:55 GMT

Mr. and Mrs. Glaeser


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Beck photography Rachael rileyroo Sun, 16 Jul 2017 19:32:12 GMT
Fourth of July We had such a fun celebration on the 4th this year.

Thank you to all of our military branches that keep us safe so we can celebrate in this great country!


Mae Mae, Pa Pa, and their 12 grands (just a few more months and it will be a "lucky 13" grands)


These kids are full of silly!



These two look so much alike we call them twins...


...and made them pretend to fight like twins.




This is just awesome! Charlie girl adores her Parian. He teases her and is goofy with her like no other. Perfect match! 




Mae Mae with her girl grands


Pa Pa with his boy grands...


...and his only other boy. Looks like the girls are going to dominate! We are going to make some great men out of these boys with our girl influence. 


Nanny Jess wanted a picture with Etta and of course Etta chose to be a booger. Smart woman that Nanny Jess is..."she says, Etta how about I just stand behind you and I won't touch you at all." Etta was game! Win! I just love this for the photo and the funny story behind it. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshots covington louisiana Covington Louisiana family photographer families with disabilities lifestyle in home photographer photography rachael beck rileyroo photography rileyroo photography blog Tue, 11 Jul 2017 21:57:59 GMT
Baby Beck 6 Baby number 6!

When the kids request a gender reveal and you don't want to do it you find the positive and make it fun for yourself too. 

Nanny Jaime and I worked hard making these beautiful cupcakes yesterday. It's the first time I've done really decorative icing, and I think it's pretty good for a newbie.

Riley went with me for the ultrasound, but I made her turn her head when looking at gender so she wouldn't know before the other kids. We got great news that the baby looks healthy! Riley loved seeing the heart, brain, and spine. 

They are impatiently waiting for me to give the go ahead to dig in while I go through the ultrasound results about the health of the baby. I took my time to stress each organ and how important it is that each part is healthy, but even if it wasn't we would still love and embrace the baby as part of our family. They weren't really phased by that, but I pushed it on them anyhow.

Play the video below to hear the excitement these kids have.

I'm sorry for so many pictures of the cupcakes, but it was fun.


It's a GIRL!!!

We sure know what to do with these girls, so we are all set!

5-1 Paul. Sorry buddy. One day you will learn how much of a win that is for you. Your Uncle found brothers in Christ without a problem, and you will too. 

I made myself a healthier version of a cupcake with no gluten and no refined sugar (well except the icing, but I'm not going eat that part). 

Paul was super excited to dig in...

...and then super bummed that it's a girl. It took him a while to recover and eat his cupcake. If I'm going to be honest I was rooting for a boy too. Denis took him for a haircut and bought him a new Wii game. He's better now. We don't typically bribe our kid's happiness, but we haven't bought a Wii game in 4 years, so we could justify it. 

None of the girls really cared a whole lot. They were all rooting for a boy, but none of them seem disappointed that it's a girl. They weren't overly excited because Paul was such a buzz kill. Once again I think it would have been better to forgo any sort of gender reveal for the kids, but Riley insisted on doing cupcakes. They are excited about getting to eat the ones with blue pearls in the middle tomorrow though. They just want dessert! 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshots covington louisiana Covington Louisiana family photographer families with disabilities lifestyle in home photographer photography rachael beck rileyroo photography rileyroo photography blog Thu, 06 Jul 2017 18:52:16 GMT
The Start of Birthday Season Well this girl starts the birthday season in our little home and she did it with a bang. Happy 7th birthday little girl! 

She has lived defiantly the last few years and FINALLY seems to be leveling out. She has had really sweet moments, and really mean moments. From talking with my other mom friends this doesn't seem unusual for her age. It was definitely new to us though. The two above her were innately sweet for years. We didn't know what switch was flipped when she turned 4 1/2, but it sure flipped! It isn't flipping back as quickly as it flipped on. I see a gradual change in her. I see maturity, I see happiness, I see bravery, I see her fierceness in a great way! I am loving being the mom of this growing child. She fascinates me! 

Ear piercing tradition

The tradition in my home growing up was when we turned 10 years old we could get our ears pierced. My brother and sister-in-law thought they'd follow the same tradition. My brother figured it worked well for his sisters so it sounded good. When his daughter turned 7 or 8 (I don't remember exactly) she was asking to get her ears pierced. So they explained the tradition and told her when she was 10 she could. Well when she turned 10 she was terrified. She wanted them pierced, but was just too scared. I think she was 15 before she finally worked up the courage to get it done. Our oldest started asking when she was almost 8 so we said let's have our own tradition. Let's learn from my niece. When they ask let's do it. She was a bit dramatic, but did it well and with only a few tears. Charlie knew it hurt from watching Riley and of course from Riley telling her. Charlie's been saying ever since that she was NEVER going to do that until she was a teenager. She is the diva that lives with pearls and a fancy head band. We have to make her take them off to bathe and sleep. I thought surely she will want to sooner than that. Sure enough...

We happened to be driving by the place we got Riley's ears pierced at this past Tuesday. It isn't our normal route and I certainly didn't expect her to say yes or I wouldn't have asked. We were just driving along and I jokingly said, "Hey Charlie we are about to pass the place Riley got her ears pierced. Want to get yours done? Your birthday is in just a couple of days." She did't miss a beat and said, "Sure mom. Let's do it." Wait...What? She wasn't supposed to say that. I mean, I hadn't even talked to Denis about it. I had NO idea she would actually say yes. Ummmmm, ok. We pulled in and the place had closed down. I called the other location and they couldn't do it until Friday. I thought ok, she will change her mind by then. We already got her a birthday present. We didn't plan on this. Why did I ask her? What was I thinking? Then the smart momma that I am just kept on at it. "Hey Charlie, they can't do it until Friday. Want me to check if the pediatrician has an opening today?" Did I really just offer that? Seriously what was I thinking? I was already sure she would say no when Friday came around. I was off the hook. Uh! Of course she says, "yes!" Ummmm, "Charlie, the place Riley went was a fancy jewelry store. We can wait and go to the fancy place Friday." Charlie says, "no, let's go to the doctor to do it." Lo and behold they could fit us in. Luckily it was half the price of the fancy place and they had earrings just as cute. This diva was stoked to get her "star, diamond" earrings and I was stoked it wasn't the cost I thought it would be. 



Big sister helping

The whole crew waiting patiently

After the first one..

That was it. Not a tear. Just that little ouchie face. Then she held the phone and watched them do the other ear. Amazing and brave. She rocks! 

Then we moved on to a fun afternoon with friends. I only managed to capture her with one of them. This is her very first best friend (she has a whole list of them by now though). She loved getting to tell her all about her experience. 

She is truly having a birthday week! She got her ears pierced Tuesday. Her Nanny and Parian went to school to have lunch with her yesterday. We are having fancy dinner at home tonight, and taking her for free birthday donuts at the Donut King on Saturday. Fun week! 




[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshots covington louisiana Covington Louisiana family photographer families with disabilities lifestyle in home photographer photography rachael beck rileyroo photography rileyroo photography blog Thu, 10 Nov 2016 21:21:45 GMT
Paul's First Holy Communion Happy First Holy Communion Paul!

You are an amazing, kind, beautiful child of God. We are so excited you get to receive communion with us at mass now. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful moment. You did great! (Besides the evil eye you gave Riley when walking to your pew.) 

I thoroughly enjoyed taking photos of this sweet boy. Denis hard work in the yard has paid off. I am so thankful we have this much beauty right outside our backdoor!


The banner is supposed to be led by the communicant. I found the wooden keys at the store and grabbed them not knowing how we would incorporate them. Then it dawned on me. When I suggested it to Paul he described how he wanted it to be. I did most of the putting together since the cutting and gluing of this magnitude is a bit much for an 8 year old. The host and chalice was his idea though. I think I did more of the banner than he did, but he loves it. We still pull Riley's out from time to time to enjoy, so I know we will do the same with his. We use their baptism candles on their baptism day every year, so we will do the same with their banners. I think it is something they will have for years to come to remember their special day. Charlie is already planning hers! 

Mae Mae is amazing! We love the cake that matches his banner. What a neat tradition this is! We are so thankful, and it was yummy! There isn't much left and it's only been a day. 

This is why I take all the photos I take. I love seeing them in print and watching people enjoy them!

We had an excellent time celebrating with family! Thank you to everyone that came and showered Paul with love and gifts. He was so excited to crawl in bed with his new Bible last night. I didn't get the chance to see how much he read, but I'm guessing he didn't make it past the preface. Ha! 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) business headshots covington louisiana Covington Louisiana family photographer families with disabilities lifestyle in home photographer photography rachael beck rileyroo photography rileyroo photography blog Sun, 08 May 2016 15:51:49 GMT
A Night Out I will let the pictures speak for themselves. We had a blast! 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Thu, 12 Mar 2015 13:20:50 GMT
Paul is 7 Ok, I've done my duty for the year! I have taken and edited "professional" pictures of all five of my kids, individually. Whew! It was fun, and time consuming. 

Paul is a delight. He has a different energy than his sisters. I like it. This year has been great for him! He loves to play with his best friend, JR, as well as all of the other neighborhood boys (we have a crew of them). He enjoys playing Skylanders. Most of all he still loves to find "treasures." Anything metal is a treasure to him. I'm sure his Uncle Tony and Pa Pa are proud. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Fri, 20 Feb 2015 03:07:08 GMT
Riley is nine! We have reached the halfway point in raising Riley. I told her this the other day and her eyes welled up with tears. I made her feel better by telling her that she will remember ALL of the next nine years since she is older. I told her that we don't remember our first few years, so the first nine seems shorter. This helped her. I don't think it helped me though. She's mine. God gave her to me. I am selfish. I do not want to think about sharing her with the great big world in nine years. The world can't have her.


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Thu, 19 Feb 2015 04:44:57 GMT
Camille is three! Well, she's three next week, but I got her 3 year pictures taken already. I'm not really on the ball or ahead of the game. Don't give me too much credit. All of my children's birthdays are November, December, January, and February, so every year this time I take them each for a turn with me and the camera. I had so much fun with each of them. It was special for me to have that time focusing on each child individually. I hope it was special for them too. 

Camille is wonderful! She is so sweet and agreeable. It seems like she has way fewer fits than the others did at this age. It takes a few minutes when she doesn't agree with something, but then she says "ok, mommy." Sometimes it takes a little explanation on my part, but she inevitably agrees. Don't let that fool you though. Camille is tough as nails. She has to be to keep up with the older ones. 

She still sucks her thumb, sleeps with her Aunt Re blanket, loves treats, and bubble gum, plays with barbies, play dough, and loves to cut with scissors (thankfully it's mardi gras beads lately and not her hair). She is an amazing child filled with contemplation and joy! We are so thankful for her place in our family.

As always we have to thank Nanny Jaime for the awesome new clothes! Thank you Nanny! 

Notice that in the few pictures she's smiling in her face is transformed. She is beautiful either way, but that smile...



[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Thu, 19 Feb 2015 03:16:25 GMT
Riley's Art Portfolio Riley applied for talented art this year. She had to turn in 14 pieces of completely original art. She wasn't allowed to look at another picture while drawing, and she couldn't have extensive coaching. It had to come from her head, or by looking at an object. Here's a few of her pieces. She had a drawing test at her school after she turned in her portfolio. She passed! Now she has a test scheduled with the state this week. She is so excited and a tiny bit nervous. Prayers are appreciated. Thanks! 





Pottery bank





Salt and Pepper shakers






Fashion dresses

Pencil color



printed on linen


A woman sewing a drapery



Underwater scene from hearing a story about a greek god

pencil color


From a real vase and flowers

pencil colors


From a real bowl of fruit

oil pastels


From a real wine glass

pencil and oil pastel



[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Sat, 07 Feb 2015 04:15:58 GMT
Etta is one! This little bit wasn't quite as cooperative as the five year old. She wanted to eat the dirt and stick her foot in the mud. We still managed a few good ones though.

Etta loves to roll around on the floor like a crazy person, grinning the whole time. She is SOOO silly. She loves to play with her lamb, Camille's bristle blocks, and ANY random thing she can get her hands on. Especially if she isn't supposed to have it. 

I know I've said it a thousand times, but her first year was a difficult one. I thought to myself over and over that I had no idea how to take care of her. That's coming from a momma that easily took care of four before her! She was hard. Now, all of a sudden, she's a different baby. I get her. It only took me a year, but I get her. Whew.  


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Sat, 24 Jan 2015 15:36:45 GMT
Charlie is five! I remember a time not long ago that this little one didn't want me to photograph her at all. She was having a hard time because I was taking too many pictures of babies. My own and my clients. She rebelled by refusing to let me take pictures of her. I am so thankful that was a short stage. She hammed it up for me this time. Most importantly, we had fun together. 

Charlie loves playing with her best friend Kiley, her barbies, "kitchen stuff", and anything with paper, crayons, and markers. She has matured a crazy amount this year. It has been fascinating to watch her grow. She is as sneaky as ever, but is learning boundaries, finally. She is a mean, but happy and sweet little girl all at the same time. She gives me more hugs, thank you's, and you're so sweets than any of them.

Thank you for being our little ball of fire Charlie Jane!  


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Sat, 24 Jan 2015 13:54:53 GMT
Tid Bits August - September 2014 Talk about summer fun! I have awesome neighbors. One had a snow cone party for the end of summer. She also cut my kids hair (pictures below if you haven't already seen those). She's so fantastic that I had her cut mine too! 

Aunt Re gave us these sidewalk tattoos. It took us a few tries to figure it out. Once we did they were great. I think the adults enjoyed them more than the kids! 

Charlie's first really short hair cut. She loves it and so do I! All of her light blond is gone now, but it looks so healthy. 

If I would have known all it took was a new dress and new haircut to get her in front of the camera I'd have done it a long time ago. She was so resistant for the last year that I quit asking. I never force them (unless it's one kid being uncooperative for a family picture). I love that she is so willing to have me take pictures now. I mean, look at this cuteness!

Now this ones always a ham.

This just happened. Definitely not planned. I'm sure glad it did. What a fun moment for them! I think it was Nanny or Aunt Re's idea. Regardless it was fun for all.

We are so glad to have this awesome boy as a neighbor for Paul to play with. They really enjoy their time together. Paul definitely needs it since he's surrounded by all of these girls. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Fri, 15 Aug 2014 20:30:18 GMT
Etta is 7 months old!  


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Tue, 12 Aug 2014 20:42:04 GMT
Tid bits Summer/Fall 2014 I have so many fun moments from the spring and summer, that I don't know what to share. So here they are! 

The kids LOVED sleeping in the tent. It was just in our own yard, but they thought it was awesome! Too bad Denis and I didn't agree. 

Our backyard gardens have really grown up this season. I haven't been the greatest at keeping them weeded and watered though. My potted plants are suffering without everyday watering. They are surviving, but not thriving like usual. 

Ball season was so busy, but so much fun. The kids really had a blast. We have too much going on this fall to participate in fall ball. I'm pretty sure we will hit it up again in the spring though. 

Ballpark fashion. 

Long days during ball season make for a worn out 2 year old. She sure was a champ through it all though.

I hollowed out real eggs last year, painted them, and filled them with a message for each kid to crack open Easter morning. This year Riley was anticipating that special treat. She asked to help with the eggs. That led to ALL of the kids "helping." Last year I thought it would become tradition that I made the eggs for the kids every year. I am very pleased with the twist of them making their own egg.

Bake, bake, bake...

Last day of Kindergarten! 

I sure hope we live here next year so Charlie can have Mrs. Marse too!

Nanny summer fun!

Thanks for the fun activity Nanny Jaime! 


This little bit decided to wear her swimsuit every day all summer. She also lived out of her suitcase.

Riley had no problem getting the neighborhood boys to play My Little Pony Monopoly this summer. They all had a great time! We are so sad that the two boys with their backs to us recently moved. We really enjoyed their company. 

I do not think she will be a fashion designer. Although, she's so cute she would look adorable in a potato sack. 

This is how our monthly photo shoots for Etta Cat go. Everyone feels like they have to be involved.

Oh Riley, I knew it was only a matter of time. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Tue, 12 Aug 2014 20:37:42 GMT
Riley's First Communion  

Oh what a wonderful day! Riley was so excited to receive her First communion. What I love is watching her recieve each Sunday at mass now that she has. I love the way they taught her to be so respectful and reverent.

Nanny Jaime doing the "Nanny Thing"

We got to borrow this beautiful dress from Riley's cousin Clare. It was simple, classy and beautiful! We are so grateful!

Each child and family had to make a banner together. There are pre made kits you can buy online, or you could make your own. We chose to make our own. We got most of the ideas for our banner from Clare (the cousin we borrowed the dress from). I made a dove and chalice one night when Riley went to bed. When she woke up she was mad that I did it without her. It was supposed to be done together. This really picky momma had a hard time following that rule! She made her own dove and chalice that day. Then she chose to keep my dove and her chalice to actually put on the banner. She said my dove was better. I think we had a fair amount of team work. We are so pleased with how it came out. It is still hanging on the inside of our front door.

Riley with Clare

Mae Mae surprised us by making Riley's cake look just like her banner. Great job Mae Mae! We were surprised and we loved it! 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Thu, 26 Jun 2014 03:01:12 GMT
Etta Catherine's First Year I take these pictures once a month on the quilt that my grandmother made. She gave it to me when I got married. Etta is named after her so that makes these super special. I hope she will appreciate them one day. 




One Month


Two Months


Three Months

3 months3 months


Four Months


Five Months


Six Months


Seven Months


Eight Months

8 months8 months


Nine Months


Ten Months


Eleven Months


Twelve Months


Color Version



One Month

1 month1 month


Two Months


Three Months

Four Months

4 months4 months


Five Months

5 months5 months


Six Months

6 months6 months


Seven Months


Eight Months


Nine Months


Ten Months


Eleven Months



Twelve Months

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:40:45 GMT
Tid Bits March and April 2014 Rachael

I had Riley and Paul home all week, but I didn't take any pictures of them. Camille is just such a ham that she won out! I'll do better with the big kids. Soon, maybe.

I searched for the picture I know I have of Riley in this same outfit, but I cannot find it! So frustrating. I wasn't so organized with pictures in 2006. Boy have I learned a lot! Only one person has told me she looks like Riley. One person told me she looks like Denis. No one has every said Riley looks me. All the rest say Etta looks like me or my side of the family. When I looked back at Riley's baby pictures I can definitely see them in each other. ALL of my kids look like they belong together. Who cares who else they look like?! They are each beautiful and unique. Thanks be to God! 

This head full of hair still makes me smile.

Riley told me on Sunday that this week was going to be horrible because I am mean and she's stuck at home with me. Then she brought me flowers and made me this. She's definitely 8. 

Oh what fun! Denis, Charlie, Etta, and I took Camille to Cafe Du Monde for her actual birthday. She thoroughly enjoyed herself. 


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Thu, 06 Mar 2014 21:03:05 GMT
I better go back to work… Rachael

So I've been asked for a few of the recipes I've made lately. Just click on the title of each recipe. It will take you to the link where I got the recipe in the first place. Please let me know if you have any trouble accessing them.

Big Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies

Mam-maw's Lemon Pound Cake

Chocolate Chip Lava Cookies

I used my Chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe (see at the bottom of this post), and followed the rest of the directions in the link.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

I've had these pinned on Pinterest for a few weeks, but I put off making them. Someone let a weirdo live in my house. That weirdo doesn't like peanut butter and chocolate together. Thankfully that goofball went back to work after being on vacation for a week. I felt like I could make them because if he really wanted dessert he could get something at work. I'm not naming names.

Sugar Cookies!

The BEST ever!

Cheesecake bites

Everything about these is perfect.

Soft Buttery One Hour Pretzels

I am NOT a food photographer, but I do enjoy cooking and I am excited that each of these recipes turned out GREAT! All of them were new and I enjoyed each one. I might tweak something on each next time I make them, but that's a normal for me. I did have help from my awesome sister for some of these, but I would have made them with or without her. I am grateful for the extra set of hands though.

I really should be going back to work. Soon. Now.

No Bake Vanilla Cake Batter Chocolate Truffles 

I did NOT use Agave.

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I thought these had a tad too much garlic. Denis thought they were fine. I didn't have fresh parsley, so I didn't put any. Otherwise the recipe was VERY easy and very good.

Lemon Butter Cookie

These were slightly a pain, but worth it. 

Kale, Mushroom, Feta, and Mozzarella Breakfast Casserole

Of course the kids wouldn't eat this, but it was delicious. I will most definitely make it again.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Denis' favorite recipe

These cookies don't really have a link because I took ideas from 3 different recipes and made my own. I've been trying to make THE perfect chocolate chip cookie for years. I thought I had it right a while back, but I was wrong. I think this is it. For real. I don't know that I'll make it this exact way every time. Probably though. If I happen to change it up I'll probably this recipe from Averie Cooks. It's kind of what I did to make the cookie below. 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Tue, 04 Mar 2014 22:10:01 GMT
Etta's Baptism and Camille's Birthday Rachael

We this day do all agree a child of God you'll always be.

Etta, Etta, God claims you, God helps you, protects you, and loves you too.

We your family love you so, we vow to help your faith to grow.

Etta, Etta, God claims you, God helps you, protects you, and loves you too. 

We are here to say this day that we will help you on your way.

Etta, Etta, God claims you, God helps you, protects you, and loves you too. 

And if you should tire or cry then we will sing this lullaby.

Etta, Etta, God claims you, God helps you, protects you, and loves you too.

Music by Barry Landry (my godfather)

What a rough day! We were so excited about Etta's baptism and Camille's birthday party. I was ready, or so I thought. I got sick during the week and ended up in the ER late Saturday night. I had pneumonia! Really?! Good thing I went because another day and the doctor would have admitted me as inpatient. Thankfully they were able to pump me full of antibiotics, steroids, and breathing treatments so we could still have the baptism and party. I owe so many people so many thank you's. I had neighbors, friends, and family come to my rescue when I needed them all the most. Denis was working all day Saturday, so I had to get help from everyone else I could think of. I am so blessed. 

Sunday morning was a nasty, rainy morning. Our church is typically packed tight every Sunday. I advised family to arrive in plenty of time so we would all be able to sit during church. My sister, Carrie, had my 3 big kids. Denis and I only had to get ourselves and 2 kids ready. Who showed up in the nick of time? Us, of course. I didn't get my clothes or the baptismal gown ironed. Oh, and I showed up in flip flops (at least they were the right color). Thankfully my other family did arrive early AND church was not packed because of the rain. We were mostly able to sit together. I was winded just walking 5 feet that morning. I think God was looking out for me that morning by making it rain.

We were visiting after mass and didn't even realize the priest and other family baptizing a baby were waiting by the baptismal font for us. We all ran over so things could get started. I grabbed my camera, aimed at the baptismal font to test lighting, and handed it off to my sister so we could stand with Etta. Oops, I should have put the flash on and put it in program mode. My sister did great with what I gave her though. We were lucky to get so many decent photos when I messed up that badly. Half of the pictures have blown out highlights and the other half are covered in shadows across faces. It's hard being the mom, sick with pneumonia, and the photographer. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! 


Just look at these beautiful godparents and baby.

Here's our first attempt at a family photo since Etta was born. This is called real life people. Real life.

Party time! 

My kids took turns opening Etta's baptism gifts while I wore myself out taking pictures. 

My dad happened to go in my grandmother's house recently and came across this cat in her windowsill. He knew it was meant for our sweet Etta Cat!   Mam-maw Kitty gave a gift for Etta's baptism even though she couldn't be there in body. How special! 

Etta was showered with such loving, thoughtful gifts on her special day. 

Camille's turn!

Her first gift was clothes from Mimi. She had to put them ALL on right away! 

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! 

She was such a ham. Her face lit up with excitement when she realized we were all singing to her! 

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Sun, 02 Mar 2014 16:12:40 GMT
Tidbits January and February 2014 Here's a last few favorite images to top off February tidbits: 

One of my goals before I had Etta Catherine was to take yearly pictures of the other kids. Since she came early I didn't get the chance. I finally got around to it last week. I played around with lighting too much trying things out. I should have stuck with my typical setup though. Regardless the kids are adorable.

Paul was very cooperative, so I didn't take very many of him. Riley, on the other hand, was uncooperative and I took a bunch of her. I ended up with more good ones of Riley because of it. Next time I'll be sure to get more of Paul to even it out. I know when they are 15 and 13 they will be comparing who had more pictures taken by mom when they were young. 

Riley is no doubt 8 years old. She acted like it for her entire session! The pictures below will prove me right.

I snapped these of Charlie and Camille on the fly a couple of weeks ago. Charlie needs another turn for sure. This is the only decent shot I got of her and it isn't all that great. She wasn't really interested though. I typically have to let it be her idea for it to work out. Maybe I can plant that seed this week. 

This very thoughtful one of Camille is by far my favorite. It makes me wonder what she was thinking at that moment. 

1 month1 month

Still the toy of the year.

Our pictures would never be as good without Nanny to do hair.

Perfect baby parts.

Etta's valentine hug to the world:

Riley's valentine gifts to her classmates (thanks Pinterest for the free printable cards): 


She ate candy before she was even fully awake. Then she thought she could again the next morning. No such luck kiddo! 

If only I could convince her to keep the stickers in a book…

…or on me. Instead I am finding them ALL over the house in random places.

Chubby cheeks:

The girls have a new hiding spot. This makes for some nice quite time for mommy during the day and a mess to clean up at night.

Aunt Re snuggles came at just the right time. I am so glad my girls will have sisters when they grow up.

The only craft Riley has participated in since the rainbow loom is making "rock people." Aren't they cute?

When you ask your son to get the ketchup for dinner and he doesn't…
your husband gets it and hands it to your 2 year old…
the 2 year old takes the paper off…
then goes to the table to eat the ketchup right out of the bottle…
then you ask your son to get a new ketchup bottle out of the pantry…
thankfully it didn't start all over again, but it would have without a sibling to tattle tale.

Camille with HER baby.

5 kids + one box = fun for 1 hour

Happy Mardi Gras! 

When mommy gets a package the whole house has a good time.

The kids were fascinated watching the minuscule amount of snow as it fell to the ground. 

She is simply amazing!

This little bit looks so serious here, but she sure does keep me laughing! 

Etta is sporting a really awesome headband made by Denis' cousin using his deceased grandmother's fabric scraps. Super special.


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Thu, 30 Jan 2014 20:51:59 GMT
Still taking pictures… In honor of March for Life day this week:

I definitely stole this idea from a post I saw on Facebook and used it for my own kid. I wouldn't use it for a client because that wouldn't be right. I sure do love the way it came out though.




I finally got pictures of all 5 together and separate! Too bad Etta wouldn't cooperate for her individual though. Since all of their birthdays have/are happening in the past few and upcoming months I need to get good individual pictures of each of my children. It was on my list for the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy. (Oops, I didn't get those 2 weeks.) Now I'll have to make myself do it in between feedings and diaper changes. For now these quick shots with their number shirts will suffice. 

Paul finally got to hold her!

Hanging in my crib!


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Fri, 24 Jan 2014 16:48:09 GMT
Welcome Etta Catherine Rachael

Welcome Etta Catherine Beck

We weren't quite ready for you to arrive, but you obviously had your own agenda! I was 38 weeks to the day. I got out of bed and told Denis how miserable my night was because of contractions. I even told him they were more painful than braxton hicks, but that they weren't consistent. He said, "please not today, I have a manager out on vacation right now. Oh and it's dad's night for Riley at school. She would have a fit if we have to miss it." Like I have control over this, really? We even discussed hanging on so I could go to work Saturday. This was Thursday and I hadn't worked since Monday. That meant I'd lose a few days maternity leave with her. I asked Denis if he really had to go to work. All along thinking I just wanted him home. I didn't really think I was in labor. I have yet to go into labor early for a baby. In fact, I only went into labor for one of them and I was overdue. The other three were induced past due date or right before.

I had an appointment with the nurse practitioner for my 38 week check up. I figured they would be able to tell me for sure if I was in labor and I could give Denis a good heads up to get back home. Yeah right! He left for work, I took the kids to the bus stop, got ready for my appointment (I made sure to put my phone charger in my purse just in case, ha), and headed out with my two young girls. 

My blood pressure was slightly higher than it normally is, but the nurse chalked it up to the sugar in the chocolate chip banana bread I had for breakfast. I thought that was an odd reason considering I often have an unhealthy breakfast. Looking back I now realize I was in labor! Shouldn't they pick up on stuff like that? Especially when the patient says she is having painful contractions and it is her fifth baby? Hmmmm, they didn't. I was 3-4 cm, but my contractions still weren't consistent. I had the NP copy my chart so I could take it with me to work on Saturday. If I went into labor at work I knew I'd never make it back to Covington. I wanted whatever doctor ended up taking care of me to have some idea of my prenatal care. I think I knew I was in labor, but let myself deny it since the NP didn't seem to think so AND I had my two little girls with me. Then she sent us on our way.

The girls and I went to the Dollar Store to get stuffings for Riley's piñata. We were going to have her birthday party the next night. We planned her party early thinking the baby would come closer to Riley's birthday. We wanted to make sure we got the chance to celebrate Riley. We came home, sat in the foyer together, and stuffed the piñata. I called my mom to give her an update on my appointment (I don't usually do this) and to ask her to stay home in case I needed her. As we were on the phone I had a contraction and said, "ow!" Mom said, "I can come right now. How about I come now?" I insisted it wasn't real, but I would let her know if I needed her. Denial again.

I made our sandwiches for lunch and sat down to eat. As I was having a contraction I put my hand on my belly. 

Charlie: "mommy, why are you holding your belly like that?"

Me: I'm having contractions. That means baby Etta might be getting ready to come." (I am still in denial at this point. I keep thinking the contractions will stop.)

Charlie: "oh no! It isn't time yet! She would die!"

Me: No she would be just fine. She is plenty big enough and old enough now that it would be perfectly safe for her to come.

Charlie: "YAY!!!!"

I put the girls down for nap at 1pm. I tried to fall asleep on the couch, but kept timing contractions instead. My brother text me to have me tell Charlie Happy Baptism Day (he is her godfather). He was reminding us to do the blessing cup with her that evening at dinner. I told him about my contractions and said that I hope we get to do it. Five minutes later I decided they were too close together. I didn't care if they weren't consistent. I called the doctor to make sure they would see me again. Then I called my mom to come be with the girls. My sister called to ask about what color wraps I ordered for Etta's newborn photo shoot. I told her and then said, "by the way I think I'm in labor." She said, "what do you mean, by the way?!!" She offered to come, but mom was already on her way. I am so blessed to have so much family support. Then my good friend that happens to be a former labor and delivery nurse texted to ask about my appointment. I gave her an update and she told me I should go to the hospital, not the doctor. If I go to the doctor and I'm at 6cm they won't let me leave and drive myself to the hospital. Then I'd have to go by ambulance. She insisted I'd never make it to the hospital in time to have the baby. I pretty much ignored her and hung up. Whatever! I'm not really in labor. She's crazy!

By the time I got on the highway about a minute from the doctor's office (2:45pm) I decided maybe I SHOULD go to the hospital. School traffic was heavy. Why take a chance? These contractions really hurt and the doctor's office said the monitors at the hospital are better.

I called Denis to tell him the plan. I told him to stay at work I would keep him posted. My best friend and my sister couldn't stand that I was going to the hospital alone. I couldn't understand what the big deal was. I was just going to be put on a monitor and told to go home and rest. Denial again, even though I think I knew it was for real. I've been induced for my babies, so I didn't even remember where to go at the hospital. I parked at the ER, walked in with my purse and camera bag, and the tech asked how many weeks. I told him 38 and baby number 5. I've never seen a guy run so fast to get a wheelchair. I was laughing at him and told him I could walk if he'd just tell me where to go. He insisted on the chair and took me to the assessment center. It was crazy, busy! However, it only took them about 20 minutes to check me in and decide I was in labor. I called Denis and told him he should come, NOW. 

He had to stop and get gas because he was literally running on empty. My sister and friend were again terrified that I'd be alone to have this baby. No big deal people. No big deal. I won't be alone. There are nurses and we have time. The nurse kept saying something about 4 hours. I had my last baby with no epidural and thought I could do it again. The contractions were so painful and so close together I was doubting I could make it 4 hours though. Where did she get 4 hours anyhow? I think she was hoping she had that much time. They only had 2 rooms available and they were both dirty. I said to the nurse that I'd probably have this baby in the assessment room. She laughed and said no, no we'll get you in a room. Barely.

Denis made it to the hospital a few minutes later. He was with me maybe 10 minutes and I had a contraction that broke my water. We were alone in the room and I told him to hurry up and find a nurse. My water has never broken by itself. She came running with another nurse and they quickly wheeled me to a patient room. I guess it was clean. Who knows?! As soon as she locked my bed I had a contraction and told the nurse I was trying not to push. She checked me and said, "ok let's call the doctor." Then she turned around to start getting things ready. It was my nurse and two other nurses helping her set up when the next contraction hit. I told her again that I was trying not to push. With her back to me she said, "please don't." Then Denis said, "Um, there's the baby, she just popped out." (4:41pm) Nobody grabbed her! I heard her cry, then didn't hear her again. I panicked and said, "SOMEBODY GRAB HER! Is she breathing? Is she ok?" I guess the nurses were trying to get gloves on. I say I don't know why Denis didn't grab her, but he's much to clean of a person. He was probably scared of getting dirty. Although, he has since told me that my reaction scared him. He thought something was wrong with the baby and he didn't know what to do. He said I've never panicked like that before and that worried him. I was just pissed that nobody caught her OR picked her up right after. They just let her lie on the bed for a minute. Poor baby. 

Then the intercom in the room came on and the person on the other end said, "the doctor is in the parking lot. She's almost here." The nurse said, "um, too late. Baby is already here." The person said, "she's not going to like that." When the doctor arrived I apologized to her. In hindsight I guess she should have apologized for her nurse practitioner. The NP should have put me on a monitor that morning. Then she'd have known I was in labor and sent me over to the hospital right then. It's not like this is my first baby, it's the fifth people. The fifth! They really should have watched me closer. Especially since I've been group B strep + since after the first baby. Since things happened so fast at the hospital they didn't even get in one full dose of penicillin. Then the baby ended up with skewed lab work and bought us an extra night in the hospital. We were still only there less than 48 hours, but I'm used to going home right at 24 hours. I know I'm griping. I shouldn't. I am grateful for all of my healthy, safe deliveries. Some people stay more than two nights and then have to leave their baby at the hospital. I didn't have to do either of those, and I am so thankful for that. I just think things probably should have gone a little differently that day. 

Here she is: 6 pounds 12 ounces, 19 inches long and ticked off! She didn't stay mad for long. She is a wonderful, content baby. We are just hoping she stays that way. 

The nurse did the footprints and then I remembered I wanted to put her print on Denis hand and take a picture. I saw that somewhere during my pregnancy and knew I had to do it. I jumped out of bed as fast as I could considering I just had a baby. Denis and the nurses thought I was crazy, but I think it was worth the effort. I'll be glad I have this photo years from now. 

The meeting of the sibs:

We have had a lot of sickness in our house. Fevers, colds, etc. Paul wasn't presenting with symptoms the day I had Etta Catherine, but for some reason he said he didn't want to hold her. It kind of upset me that he didn't want to. He held his two sisters that are younger than him when they were born. Why wouldn't he hold this one? He wanted her to be a boy so bad, but he knew it wasn't. Maybe he was hoping the outcome would be different than what we told him. So many things were going through my head.

He has yet to hold her, but he is still sick. He told me yesterday that he really wanted to hold her, but he was still coughing too much. Hopefully he will be able to this week. Nanny Jaime gave us awesome shirts for each kid for a picture of all five together. I'm hoping we will get to take those soon. 

Momma Riley making sure Camille is gentle.

Camille was smitten with Etta Catherine from the very beginning. She keeps calling her Cat Cat. 

They were so unprepared for us that we ended up with a Christmas hat. We didn't even get it until a good hour after she was born. They told me they had to go "make" one. I tried to tell them it wasn't necessary because I had several in my suitcase, but they insisted when I started to get up and get it myself.

Denis fell asleep in a chair in the midst of several visitors and Etta's first bath. This fella wasn't ready for a baby!


Going home! 

The rest of my crew was at my sister's house when we came home from the hospital. I think it was pretty special for Camille. She wouldn't leave Etta's side for the first hour we were home. 

The first thing Denis did when we got home was his rock-a-bye baby yo yo trick for Etta. What a cool dad!

Home sweet home in the chair she will live in for the next 2 months or so. It is her favorite spot already. 

She looks like one of the kid's baby dolls from across the room.

Um, ok.

One set of grandparents. 

Riley made this bracelet for Etta right away. She now has three. Oh boy, welcome to the family.

Hanging by the window for some mild jaundice therapy: If she really needed it I would have exposed more skin, but it was more to keep her by me while I sat at the computer editing pictures. 

Our first attempt at a photo shoot seemed to be an epic fail, but we ended up getting more good ones than I thought. Nanny Jaime and I worked on it for about 2 hours.

The yawn gave us hope of her getting calm and sleepy…

…she was completely OVER us. 

Here's a little closer to what we were aiming for. 

I've had the idea of using this hat box for a newborn for years. I just keep forgetting to do it. I finally made myself. My dad helped me keep Etta calm and sleeping while I got camera settings right and snapped away. Thanks dad! I'm please with this shot. I originally thought I would use this for her birth announcement, but Nanny Jaime came up with a different awesome idea (from Pinterest of course). I'll post those pictures once we mail out the paper announcements. 

Mae Mae with grand baby number 12! Wow! 

The other set of grandparents! 

Can you tell how tiny she is here with Denis? I don't feel like the other pictures show how small she is. I had one other baby this small, but I can't seem to remember it. I had two around 7lbs 5oz and one at 8lbs. 6.12 down to 6.3 when we left the hospital seems much smaller to us. 

What a nasty face Etta Cat! 

Camille was my first baby with any significant amount of hair, but Etta beat her for sure. It is much thicker.

Oh look at that smirk.

Here's a hint to the birth announcement:

I know it looks like she has chubby cheeks here, but she doesn't. Again, she is so tiny. 


We are so excited to have this newest blessing adding a new dynamic into our home. Welcome to the world, welcome home, welcome to the Roth, Beck, Joiner, and Guagliardo families! 

Welcome, Etta Catherine Beck, sweet child of God. 


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Sun, 19 Jan 2014 21:30:32 GMT
Tid bits November and December 2013 Oh our Christmas fun!

We were all very sick, but still managed to have a great Christmas. Santa normally just puts the kids 3 presents in a pile with their stocking. Unwrapped. This year he wrapped them. We all agreed it was more fun. The kids had a blast opening presents and really seeing what each of them got. Here's a few snaps:

Santa sure enjoyed his treats. Thanks to an awesome kindergarten teacher we have these plates for Santa to eat his cookies off of.

Our Christmas morning tradition is for the kids to each open a wrapped baby Jesus that goes in a manger somewhere in the house. They always get excited and run to put their Jesus where he goes. Happy Birthday Jesus!


Happy early birthday Riley! 

The Guagliardo family tradition is to have your ears pierced for your 10th birthday. My niece was the first to hit that milestone and chose not to do it because she was scared. However, she wanted to do it a few years prior to her 10th birthday. So when Riley asked a couple of months ago we decided to go ahead while she didn't have any doubts and little fear.

Her 8th birthday is in a few weeks, but we are fast approaching having a new baby. I didn't want the hassle of making her clean and turn new earrings while caring for a new baby. We put numbing cream, but it definitely wasn't on long enough. She felt it, teared up, and said it REALLY hurt. Of course that all happened in 30 seconds or less. I cheered for her and told her to hurry up and look in the mirror because her ears were pierced! She immediately grinned and forgot about the pain! She's my kid that hides under the table at the doctor's office, but she rocked out this experience! Yay Riley!

Waiting with numbing cream (and a stuffy nose).

Getting measured/marked.

Her first look at her "new" ears. 

Even better now that the redness has gone away. 


I couldn't have said it better myself Riley. Happy birthday sweet, loving, sharing, sensitive, daring little Paul! 


We don't light a fire in our fireplace, ever, because of my sinuses. However, I am willing to let them light candles. They think this is fascinating. 

All 4 sitting quietly:

I have a love/hate relationship with the tv.

Paul had a great time with me at his class Christmas party. 

The final snowflake project! 

Snowflake time! 

The mess got about 10 times worse than this, but they cleaned it all up. 

What a ham. I was taking the picture of the snowflake mess (above) and this one sat down in front of the camera. Please ignore the syrup in her hair and focus on the beautiful face. 

This baby has been sleeping through the night since she was 10 weeks old, but decided to stay up pretty much all night. RAT! Of course she fell asleep hours before nap time the next day. We transitioned her into the bed in the nursery so the crib will be free for Etta Catherine. It's been several weeks with no problems until now. Denis made the mistake of leaving the closet light on for her. Well of course she got up and played with the shoes in her closet and books on the bookshelf. 

Camille is really into giving us concerts lately. 

Sweetest song EVER. There's nothing like big sister ruining the video with a glo stick shoved in front of the camera!

Our last zoo trip was supposed to include the new zoo passports, but somebody forgot to bring them. Riley has since informed that someone that we need a zoo checkoff list. That same someone barely took pictures that day. What a slacker! However, that someone did manage to get all 6 kids in one frame. Who cares if it's their backsides, right? 


We go to the zoo, every chance we can manage, with a friend of mine. Last time I printed free zoo passports that I found online at I cannot take credit for the creativity. I pretty much used their design and remade one in photoshop because they had ALL the wrong animals in the passport. I wanted to make it specifically for our zoo. The hardest part was finding the animals in photoshop. They just didn't have what I wanted. I finally got smart and searched for coloring sheets online for each animal. Then I shrunk them to size to fit in our passports. The picture on the back of the passport is our "zoo crew" that originally started with only 2 wee little ones. Look how we've grown! 

Our second xylophone! This one is even better than the first. We're kind of figuring it out, I guess. It looks beautiful, and It makes music, but it isn't spectacular. We have a store bought kid one that sounds great. The boards are suspended in air with a string that runs through each board. I guess that allows for more vibration and better sound. Denis didn't have a drill bit long enough to fit through the boards, so we set them on nails. It'll do for fun and it looks pretty, but definitely NOT sellable (like a sweet friend of mine said). 


Happy Sunday!

Charlie was so sick yesterday (stomach bug) that she didn't do a thing. I even brought her water to her on the couch. She did move from one couch to another a couple of times, but that is IT. I was so happy to see her up and playing today. She still isn't doing much, but she is better. She will play for about 30 minutes and then lay on the couch for 2 hours. I'm sure she was dehydrated, but working in the Peds ER gave me that little extra push to force fluids in her to keep it from getting to the point of needing IV fluids. I was thinking we were getting close to not having a choice this afternoon because she hadn't peed in 24 hours. FINALLY! She's turned it around. I got her to drink enough to pee and she's doing a puzzle right now. I'll take that. 

This was this morning right after she woke up. It didn't last long before she was on the couch again though.


Cheese ball kids:

Oh my Paul!

His teacher sent a quick note on his daily log last week that said, "He's such a cutie." She's definitely right, but when I told him he said, "ewwwww, you better tell her I AM NOT!" However, this week he's a cutie that is not paying attention in class. In some ways he is so mature, but in others VERY immature. I know it is going to balance out one day and make him one heck of a fella! 

We are trying so hard right now to teach this little firecracker to be gentler with her words and voice. It is easy for others to think she's cute when she acts mean, but I promise, it is NOT cute. She is slowly getting the lesson. It is taking longer than I'd hoped, but I can see progress.

This beauty is rocking it out in school this year. She brought home an all A progress report last week (as always). The difference now is that she is understanding the importance of working hard. Before she made good grades because she just understood the information without a problem. Now she's having to work a little to understand some things. She really appreciated that progress report full of A's for the first time. She knew she worked for it.

Here's our sick, but happy girl. The past few days have been rough for her. She got hit in the forehead with a frisbee and about 30 minutes later fell down (No one witnessed the fall, but I heard it and there was a pause before some major crying. I know it hurt). She fell off the kitchen bench yesterday (and hit her head). She's running into door frames. Ugh! I think this runny nose may be clogging her ears a little. She just seems off balance. Hopefully she will get past it soon. 


This year we hung a line of thanks. It is fun to see what each kid comes up with. A thankful heart is a happy heart, right? I hope their great attitudes follow them to adulthood. 

The family had to disguise a turkey for Paul's class last week. Hopefully this will keep the turkey from being eaten. I thought he turned out great, but Denis poked fun at my baseball mitt. It isn't proportional to the ball. Yeah yeah I didn't see him searching all over for a brown piece of paper that was big enough (or coloring a white piece). 


Bubble Fun!

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Wed, 20 Nov 2013 17:14:15 GMT
Riley's Xylophone Riley came home with what I think is her first big school project. She was supposed to make a simple instrument with 4 different sounds, neat, and with no broken parts. She had to make a flow map of the steps she used. Then she had to write at least a 5 sentence paragraph with an opening sentence, body sentences, and a closing sentence. The instrument was 60% of the grade, but the others added up to 40%.

Riley was so excited about the project that she started working on it the second she got home. She made a guitar from a cereal box. All on her own. I was so proud of her initiative. However, it did not make 4 different sounds, the cereal box was bending, and she didn't paint it (only decorated with a few stickers). I discussed these issues with her, but told her how proud I was for her excitement and attempt. I explained that with most projects first attempts usually do not come out and that's ok. The only ideas she could come up with were ones they showed her at school. I told her that there is a big BIG world out there and we needed to explore our options. That took some convincing, but finally…

Denis searched online and came up with the idea of making a xylophone. Riley went for it! We didn't want to cross that line of assisting her and doing it for her, so Denis made sure she did it. She measured, cut wood, marked spots for drilling, drilled the holes, nailed the nails, sanded, painted, put it together, and played! Of course all with assistance from us. We learned and had fun in the process. Mae Mae and PaPa even ended up being involved. They were coming over and we needed something to put on the end of our sticks to hit the keys with. We asked them to bring some bouncy balls to try out. Those didn't make enough sound so we decided we must have wooden beads. Of course Mae Mae and PaPa went to the store, bought the beads, and came right back. This gave us a working xylophone!

Denis already made another one because the other kids want one too. I said, "another toy? Really?"

I had a moment to sit in a chair and watch the process. I had been taking pictures of each step to make my own flow map (pictured below). I took a breath and realized what a special moment this was. I know I've said it before, but my husband was born to be a dad. I switched the camera to video mode and got a quick clip. I am sad we were missing Charlie, but she wasn't home. If she would have been home she would have been right there in the midst with them. 

Mommy's version of a flow map:

Riley's version of a flow map:

We made her do 2 rough drafts and a final of her paragraph. (That was the biggest fight of the whole thing.) She is an excellent writer, but was tired of working on the project. It was a lot to do. We also made her do a rough draft and final of her flow map. Denis and I both gave her our input on the final flow map. I told her that her name was very sloppy, she shouldn't have outlined the title of the page, or written over "First" or "Last." Denis told her pretty much the same thing plus the words she wrote in each square were sloppy. I honestly do not think her teacher will mark off, but she might. We just wanted her to be prepared for that. She chose to leave the final this way and we didn't fight her on it. If things are marked wrong she will learn her lesson. She worked hard, but we also know that she got lazy when she was tired of doing it.  We made sure to tell her how proud we are of her hard work though.

I do think we sometimes expect more than what she's capable of. She's our first, we aren't really sure if this work should be better for a second grader. I know there are children that will turn in much sloppier work, and some that will probably be better. I guess in this situation I have to leave it to the teacher to set the standard. 

Want to hear how it sounds? Click below.

Here's the full project ready to turn in. We sent my flow map in with her project for proof that Riley actually made the xylophone. It came out great and we were worried her teacher would think she didn't do it. Overall I think she will end up with an A.

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Sat, 16 Nov 2013 00:05:41 GMT
Charlie's 4th Birthday 4 parties for the 4 year old (oops)

We were keeping the celebrating light this year. We invited grandparents and Nanny over for dinner and cake (party 1). Mimi's car battery died and she wasn't able to make it over to celebrate Charlie's planned party, so Denis took the kids to see her a few days later (party 2). Nanny couldn't come because of a prior commitment, so she planned something later in the week with Charlie (party 3). We decided to celebrate Nanny's birthday, which is the same day as Charlie's actual birthday, a few days later (party 4). 

Party 1

Her planned party turned out pretty quiet compared to previous years, but just as wonderful. 

This little girl LOVES fireworks. She has been insisting on a "Firework Birthday" since New Year's Eve. Well she got it. 

Riley made Charlie this "firework" decoration for the cake table. I think Riley's decoration came out much better than my attempt at a firework. Great job Riley!

What a bum! She never cooperates for a b-day picture with mom and dad. 

We have quite a few "blowing out" pictures because Mae Mae bought trick candles. She was trying to buy sparkler candles (which the pack said), but they were also trick candles. Charlie didn't mind though. She thought it was fun. 

Here she is pulling out her momma finger on the candles. 

Of course we had to top off the celebration with fireworks. Denis did a good job thinking ahead and buying them on the 4th of July.


No pictures from Party 2


Party number 3

This was a whole day with Nanny Jaime. A big crew of us went to the insectarium and out to lunch one day this summer. Charlie saw the river boat with the red wheel and begged to go on it. Her Nanny promised to take her one day. Charlie NEVER let her forget it! So Nanny had to take her to celebrate their birthday. She picked her up early one morning and brought her back late that evening. They had a blast! 

Thanks Nanny for taking pictures of her on your fun adventure.

taken by Nanny Jaime taken by Nanny Jaime taken by Nanny Jaime taken by Nanny Jaime taken by Nanny Jaime taken by Nanny Jaime taken by Nanny Jaime taken by Nanny Jaime taken by Nanny Jaime

To finish off the day we did half of the fireworks Nanny bought her when they got home. 

taken by Nanny Jaime


Party 4

This was really to celebrate Nanny's birthday (it is actually on the same day as Charlie's). Of course it turned into celebrating them both. 

Our last minute addition of Aunt Jess was such a treat. We were so glad to have her over. I think Camille was really happy because Aunt Jess scooped her up during fireworks (Yes, again. It was the other half Nanny had given her). Camille was terrified of the loud ones so Aunt Jess took her in for those. 

In awe.

Camille wanting to watch, but not hear.

PaPa ready and waiting for his instructions. What a trooper!

After the 4th party I told that girl NO MORE! You are done! Don't expect 5 parties next year just because you'll be 5.

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Thu, 14 Nov 2013 04:33:40 GMT
Tid Bits October 2013 PUMPKIN CARVING

Preparing for a pumpkin carving contest at The Olive Garden made my house look like a pumpkin patch for a few days. 


We got rained out for trick or treat, but trudged along anyhow. I forgot to take a picture of the four kids together before we left the house. We had Rapunzel, a Power Ranger, Sofia the First, and Dorothy. By the time we got home everyone was drenched and happy about their candy. Paul and Camille were to only two I managed to get a picture of in costume. The other two were in their pajamas before I could get the camera out. 

Riley complained and said it wasn't worth the work to get the candy (because of the rain). Riley kept trying to skip houses and go home, but Paul kept running up to EVERY SINGLE HOUSE. He said it wasn't a fun day. When I told Riley she better not fuss when Paul ends up with more candy she started going to every house again. Maybe next year I can convince them to let me take them out to eat instead. Maybe. Not. 

Camille's latest idea of fun: she goes outside and spends 30 minutes at a time on the swing. Charlie tends to push her a little too high for my comfort, but they have fun together.

Check out those legs and dirty feet. 


Oh this footprint! This has been on my floor since Monday. When I got home from work there it was. It made me smile. It is still making me smile, so I'm avoiding mopping like I should. I know that my children were well loved, safe, and played with while I was gone. I just can't beat this kind of life.

Just Cookies...

These really are wonderful! A dear friend gave me her cookie recipe. I've been making it for months and changing something every time! I know, shame on me. I've been trying for years to get my chocolate chip cookie recipe exactly how I really want my cookies to be. (Slightly crispy on the edges, super moist and soft on the inside). I also want them to stay that way for a couple of days, not only straight out of the oven. Her recipe was good just how it was, but not juuuust right. I think, finally, maybe...

I don't think the girls even realized I was baking. They were probably too busy scheming their next attack on me. So when I offered Camille a cookie her whole face lit up. She ran to the kitchen grabbed a bowl and waited for me to drop one in. I really wish I'd have had the camera in my hand to capture that look. 

Don't you wish you were my neighbor?


Oh what fun...

Once Charlie started the fashion show Riley really got into it. She grabbed 2 red blankets and put them on the stairs to make "red carpet." She proceeded to design the girls outfits and continue the fashion show.

Camille ate it up!

Riley practiced her photography on me this morning, so I had to take a picture of her first to put the camera on the right settings. She's a much prettier subject than me. She only cut my head off in 2 shots and took 2 blurry shots. Otherwise she did pretty good. See below:

Paul stuffed his pocket with crayons to head to church this morning. He was so adorable I couldn't resist snapping a few pics. Church turned out to be a bit of a disaster, but not because of him. Riley Mae needs an attitude adjustment. She now knows that if she doesn't participate in mass the first time on Sunday that we will return for the evening mass. She has promised to do better next time. Denis and I are debating nixing the crayons for Paul and Charlie already. They are still so young to sit through mass for an hour and 15 minutes though. However, maybe cutting out the crayons will avoid half of Riley's issues. She says, "it's not fair they get to color." I say life isn't fair and they are younger than you. Get over it. We'll see how it goes the next few times. 

Paul's creative double decker. 


Fun with our zoo family:

Probably half of the animals in the book aren't even at our zoo. This adorable passport is a free printable from here. I saw several online, but none of them were just what I wanted. The nice thing is they put some empty pages in the back for "sketching" in your own animals. I almost made my own version in photoshop, but got lazy and decided to print the pre made. I'm sure glad I did. It took long enough just to put these 5 together. I can't imagine how long it would have taken to make my own. The kids loved it so much they said I have to make one specific for our zoo.

I'm pretty sure I have a picture of them in the Tiger cage from almost every time we go to the zoo. This might have been Camille's first time though.

This is right before I made Colton tear up. I was playing the "don't smile" game in an attempt to get him to smile for the camera. It was about to work. He kept having a slight grin and then it all went south. One day...

Charlie erasing one of her drawings in her passport because it was to many scribbles. I think one of the big kids said something to her. At least she was making effort to use it. Who cares what her drawings looked like. 

These big kids played with this parrot until they got it riled up. I can't decide if it was mad at us or happy. It sure was "screaming."

In the middle of being entertained by the parrot Camille lost a shoe on the other side of the parrot fence. At least it wasn't the monkey pit water where we needed a zoo keeper to retrieve it (Riley Mae)!

This is the parrot all riled up. The kids loved it.

Sweet Liam was excited about the parrot.

I'm not sure what these ladies were talking about to Liam, but he sure wasn't interested. 

They were enthralled by a turtle. We normally only see the Tortoises, but happened to see a turtle so they were fascinated. 

This is what happens when you try to get them to turn and look at the camera. 

Aunt Aymee stopped to talk to Camille and I kept walking. When she stopped talking they grabbed hands to catch up. Camille had a frown and looked at the ground the entire walk, but she never fussed. I wonder what Aunt Aymee said to her. 

The boys working on their passports:

I asked my kids to sit down together for a picture and this is what I got. The least likely to cooperate was the only cooperative kid. Go figure. 

Aunt Aymee said we have a picture here with just Riley, Cooper, and Colton when they were little. I think I need to go back and find that. What a difference a few years makes!

I was hoping for a better picture, but I'll take it.

I definitely should have picked a better location. We were heading to the playground and I knew the kids would get disguising and red faced so I was trying to fit in a few pictures while they still looked decent. Better luck next time on my part. 



I know I already posted this on Facebook, but I'm sharing again because I love it so much! Quote from my dad, "It only took me 11 grandkids to get one to like me (as a baby)." As you all know they ALL love him to pieces now. 

She sure is learning to be naughty lately. I have noticed that she is VERY teachable with routines, habits, etc. when I STAY on her behind. If I slip up at all she's right back at it though. Examples, holding blanket during the day, sucking thumb, sneaking things she knows she's not supposed to have, pulling chairs up to the counter to reach things, climbing the stairs, opening the pantry and helping herself ALL day long, and on and on and on. She gives me mind numbing exhaustion, but is so much FUN in the process.

I found myself laughing out loud at her over and over this evening while she played "monster" with the 12 year old neighborhood boy. She already knows how to charm people. 

To those of you that think I need to come help organize their house: See the background in the picture below. You may want to rethink that. I don't know where people get the idea that I'm oh so organized and have it together. I'm totally normal, I promise. Ask my family, they'll tell you the truth. Just look at that kids hair too!

The kitchen toys have, by far, been the best gifts to sweet Charlie. I must have a million pictures of her playing with these.

This little blue tug boat was a toy that MaMa Henrietta kept at her house for the grandkids to play with. When she died my Aunt Robin sent it our way. My kids play with this EVERY time they go outside. Every time I see them play I think of her. 

Chubby legs and tippy toes. 

"I can do it myself" age. I remember when Charlie was this size and I took a picture of her trying to reach something as well. Another one's turn...

This man was meant to be a dad.

Play dough. Enough said.

The hubs still gives me flowers.

I am trying so hard to keep this mess out of her face. By the time she learns to leave it in I'll be able to tuck it behind her ears. Ah well. 

Anticipation of some fun later this week with our Zoo Family:

Probably half of the animals in the book aren't even at our zoo. This adorable passport is a free printable from here. I saw several online, but none of them were just what I wanted. The nice thing is they put some empty pages in the back for "sketching" in your own animals. I almost made my own version in photoshop, but got lazy and decided to print the pre made. I'm sure glad I did. It took long enough just to put these 5 together. I can't imagine how long it would have taken to make my own. I may do it one day to include some of the animals not in this one, but this is a start. 



[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Wed, 09 Oct 2013 02:15:23 GMT
Paul's Room Paul's room was one of the few rooms we didn't paint when we moved in. Here's 4 before pictures and then the afters:

There's a new blog feature so that when you roll your mouse over a picture a title and caption will show if I chose to put one. Make sure you don't miss those words or you'll miss the story. I did just discover that this feature does not work on mobile phones. Sorry. I may not use it again.

When we first moved into this housePaul's room was already painted with 2 walls brown and 2 walls light beige when we moved in. We liked it, so we left it that way. However, we didn't have touch up paint. This rough and tough boy has destroyed the walls in 3 short years. It was time for a redo.

Christmas 2011 We do plan to pt his cars back up on the opposite wall, but need to let the paint dry for a month or so.

New StuffHand me down art work from Aunt Jess looks awesome in Paul's newly redone room. A thankful heart makes a happy heartDuring prayer last night Paul thanked God for mom repainting his room, for his STOP sign, and for his green and red choo choo trains from Aunt Jess. BrotherThe "Brother" poster was an attempt to play up the fact that he is the only boy kid in the house. I think it helped. He still wants a baby brother, but he seems better about things. Making the old "new"The wagon was Denis' as a child. We used to use it outside with the kids, but felt like it was wearing out. We didn't want to ruin it, so we came up with this idea. This way we still use it, but keep it preserved. NIght StandThis is my 5 year old's version of a night stand. I had nothing to do with it. Pretty smart if you ask me. These blocks were also Denis' as a child. A mother's hopeI hope he wants this painting in his room for years to come. I painted this for him when I was pregnant with him. I know he will outgrow it soon. Thankfully he hasn't said anything about it yet. ThinkingI wish I knew what he was thinking when looking at these while falling asleep last night. Maybe he was able to dream about trains. Maybe he told himself a story before bed. Maybe all he did was look at them. Regardless, I thought it was precious.

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Tue, 17 Sep 2013 19:31:48 GMT
These sweet girls I haven't been pulling the camera out much lately, so when I did they girls were cooperative. The both hammed it up and had the best time together.  I am really having a good time seeing their relationship change now that Riley and Paul are in school every day. It is definitely changing for the good.

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Tue, 17 Sep 2013 18:49:57 GMT
Toledo Oh Toledo Fun!

What an awesome family tradition! The kids have a blast EVERY year! We missed last year because of hurricane Isaac. Two years ago when we left the kids asked the moment we got in the van, "when are we going back?" They asked at least 3 times a week for an entire year! They were so upset when we couldn't go because of the hurricane. We were better safe than sorry trying to travel that weekend though. Can you imagine the excitement for this year? I was worried they remembered it being more fun that it really was. I didn't want them to be disappointed. Why did I ever have that thought? It was every bit as much fun this year as previous years! 

The car ride. So thankful for dvd players.

Nanny Jaime and Aunt Jess ROCK! I am usually standing the first day or 2 at the water faucet filling and tying water balloons. Then eventually some other adult feels sorry for me and brings me a chair. NOT this year! Nanny Jaime and Aunt Jess went on a wild citywide search for these little foam discs that a preschooler can use to wrap their water balloon ends around. NO knot necessary! Thanks for saving my fingers and sanity this year ladies! 

I don't believe these boys have ever had a better time together. They had the idea to build a river flowing down the hill. They did it! By the last evening we were there they had EVERY single kid helping them. Talk about cousin team work! Too bad I was too lazy to get up and get my camera for a picture of that. The memory will forever be etched in my brain though. 

These trees know 20 years worth of our family discussions, secrets, fights, fun, etc. 

Next year there will be 12! We thought it was hard to get em all sitting on the stairs for 5 minutes this year. It's only going to get worse people. 

We had a small crowd this year, but it sure was fun. Hopefully we'll have a few more back with us next year. MaMa Etta would be proud that we are continuing the tradition.

These 3 were born within a month of each other. Their mommas had a triple baby shower together. Look at em now! (We will pretend Allie dog is not photo bombing).

We always take the oldest, nastiest clothes we have to Toledo. We know they will be destroyed after the weekend is over. I was able to wash them all and put them back in the drawers, but they will never look the same again. Good thing the kid was completely washable. 

Little bug's first Toledo (and first family vacation). She couldn't have loved it more! She had unlimited snacks and juice being snuck in by aunts, grandparents, cousins, etc all weekend. Oh, let's not forget the endless number of hours spent having outside fun!

Bye bye Toledo. Thank you to all that came! We certainly missed MaMa and Mam Maw. This was our first year without them. (We miss Pa Pa Buddy too, but we haven't had him with us for several years now). Toledo is now seeing a new generation of old folks. I wonder if we will still be going when it's my turn to be an "old" folk. Hope so. Until next year...



[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Tue, 10 Sep 2013 02:46:08 GMT
New Baby Our new baby!

We went for our anatomy scan today. I think I've been praying for a healthy baby non-stop. Whew! So far all is well. Our baby is breech right now. Good news is I'm only 20 weeks so there's plenty of time to flip. However, prayers are much appreciated. This momma does NOT want a C-section!

Is it a boy or a girl?

Paul has been saying for a long time now that he wants a baby brother. I had a friend look on ultrasound for me a month ago and we were pretty sure we knew what sex the baby was. I started thinking that maybe I should try and make it fun for the kids to find out. I was hopeful it would help Paul to be excited if the baby wasn't what he wanted. 

I filled some jars with blue or red play dough that was surrounded by white. So that when the kids played with it they would make "blue for a boy" or "pink for a girl".

Riley dug right in and was so excited (she would have been either way). Paul was upset the second he saw the pink in Riley's. Charlie just wanted to play with the play dough. Camille was kind of ticked that her daddy wouldn't let her have the glass jar. 

I thought I was doing a good thing and making it exciting for Paul. WRONG. The play dough may have made it worse. He said, "I don't want any more girls in this house! I want a baby brother!" He cried so hard that he got me upset. I cried right along with him. I can't fix his heartbreak this time (cheers to the beginning of not being able to fix everything for him). Of course Denis and I don't care if we have a boy or girl. We trust that God will give us the baby that is perfect for our family at this time. That's a pretty big concept for a 5 year old, stuck with a bunch of girls, to understand though. 

Rest assured he stopped crying after about five minutes. It really helped when I told him I had some brand new blue play dough that he could have. He liked the ribbon that was around the jar as well. He was excited that I said he could keep it.

Welcome to the family sweet baby girl.

She will be named after my grandmothers. My children called my mom's mom MaMa Etta. My dad's mom is Catherine. They both died shortly after Camille was born. For those family members that plan on fussing at me for shortening Henrietta because MaMa didn't like nicknames: TOO BAD! She died too soon (and without warning) anyhow. Maybe this'll get back at her!

Etta Catherine


[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) gender reveal Fri, 06 Sep 2013 03:22:50 GMT
Art Line Everyone with kids should have an art line. We still love it months later! My refrigerator stays clean and the kids get a place to put their work. It gets overcrowded sometimes and we do a clean out to keep favorites and trash the rest. My kids are turning into regular little organizers.

[email protected] (rileyroo photography by Rachael Beck) Tue, 27 Aug 2013 02:39:35 GMT
Tid Bits July and August 2013 Sharing time eating fresh, homemade chocolate chip cookies. 

Oh that hair!

Riley has to read for 10 minutes everyday as part of her homework. She and Paul discussed the book and planned to have her read to him long before it was time. I hope we get a lot more nights like this.

Ah, garage light for all photos is my dream. You just can't beat it!

She loves to bark. I couldn't get her to look at the camera, so I barked and asked her to find the puppy by mommy. It's a funny face, but at least she looked.

Back to the SWAMP! 

The swamp is Paul's teacher's classroom theme (aka Riley's kindergarten teacher that is AWESOME). 

Oh NO! Oh YES! I am so proud of this little boy. At the end of last year he kept saying he didn't want to go to Kindergarten. He wanted to stay home with me. I had Riley tell him all kinds of great stories about school. She drove him CRAZY! He covered his ears and said, "Ok, I that's enough! I get it!" After a few weeks he decided he was ready. I guess he stewed about all the fun stuff and changed his mind. 

He even woke up one morning earlier this week, brushed his teeth, came running downstairs, and said, "I'm ready to go to school". I had to wake him up today, but he jumped out of bed giving everyone high fives. He was READY! 

Taking breaks on the way to the bus stop to search for "treasure" (anything metal that's not a battery). 

Denis was home this morning, so I didn't have the heart to unnecessarily wake Camille just to go to the bus stop. I got a sibling picture minus one. :( I'm kind of OCD, so I'll take my camera again next week and get all 4 together. Charlie's wild hair is due to her daddy NOT rinsing during bath the night before. He left it up to the kids. Yuck!
Paul's second day of school. Camille was awake this time.

This one melts my heart. 

Riley was so excited to have Paul on the bus with her. She jumped up in her seat and sang, "My brother's on the bus with me. My brother's on the bus with me!" 

You can see the genuine excitement in his face here!

Sweet big sister switched spots with Paul so he could see out the window and wave at us. 

He doesn't look happy here, but he smiled and waved right after. I thought smiling and waving back was more important than getting that one on camera. 

What we came back home to! She was so proud that daddy was letting her walk around with her bowl of cereal. Tsk Tsk Tsk. 

Nanny Jaime bought some awesome clothes from Target today! Camille insisted on wearing ALL of them at the same time. 3 pairs of shorts, a dress, and a shirt. She has become so attached to my sister that she doesn't want anything to do with me if she's around. Little stinker! 

Rainy day fun! 

Sweet Camille handled me not letting her go out better than I thought she would. Riley's bus broke down today so she was an hour late getting home. When we were waiting in the front Camille got her turn in the puddles and made up for the missed fun in the back. Too bad I didn't get pictures. She was covered head to toe!

Anyone notice the "bangs" she isn't supposed to have? Thanks to little artist Riley who no longer has scissor privileges. 

Moment of midnight insanity: make crepes. I've never eaten them or made them before, but decided to give it a try. They looked so delicious when browsing on Pinterest while not able to sleep...

...and they were delicious. However, the after banana and crepe nightmare was terrible! 

Oh sweet, wild girl.

Latest project: Not in love, but maybe I'll get there. A cabinet underneath the tv to hold the vcr, etc. may help. We shall see. Suggestions on what color it should be are welcome. White? A warm, darker green than the walls? (My couches are dark brown leather).

I got a little carried away on Riley's first day of 2nd grade. I couldn't resist going back and comparing to previous years. Yes, yes, I know, she looks the same. However, she has grown up so much. Her face still had the baby look in Kindergarten. It definitely does not anymore.

You can definitely see the baby face in the full body shot below.

First grade year my main camera was out for repair at the start of school. Bummer that the quality isn't so great. I captured the memories anyhow.

Definitely more grown up here! Yes she's still sporting the same $15 Target backpack. I sure hope I can get away with this for every kid, every year, until the backpacks fall apart. 

For those that don't see the difference 2 years has made check out the pic below. I never would have let her take off that far ahead in Kindergarten. I've loosened up a bit and she's grown up. See, changes. 

Oh sweet hugs.

Riley got a little impatient waiting for the bus. She pulled out her coloring book to pass the time. Note: we were only out there 10 minutes. She was just so excited about the first day back. 

She's already learning this year and we LOVE her teacher so far. I think we've gotten really lucky 3 years in a row. 

Our Summer of fun is ending. Tears, tears, tears. Compared to normal I've barely taken photos this summer. There are a lot on this blog post, but this is from the whole entire summer! I've barely used my camera or edited pictures since I became pregnant. Now that I'm feeling better I'm trying to get back at it. As you will see below I have a mixture of real camera photos and iPhone photos. I was pretty lazy with the camera this summer. I spent a lot of time with the kids and didn't stress about ANYTHING. If I didn't feel like packing the camera I didn't. Surprisingly it didn't bother me either. 

I am working on a collage of photos to surround our new wall mounted television. I had a picture of my favorite (family) syrup, but wasn't pleased with it, so I redid it just the other day. Anybody else have a favorite? My hubby hates cane syrup. He doesn't know what he's missing! 

My latest organization project! Their bathroom is finally functional and clean!

We are in trouble! She's learned to climb up the slide and come back down. Can anyone else see her falling off from the top? I sure can.

Riley has been begging to camp all summer. Her daddy made the mistake of saying Mimi and Pops probably have a tent. She called them, asked for it, and voila! 2 days later they showed up with the tent. Of course it's the hottest day it's been all summer. Denis and Pops set it up, so I was willing to "sleep" in it until the kids gave up. We were playing a round of Chinese Checkers and Paul was the first to go saying it was too hot. Charlie wasn't far behind. I then read Riley her bedtime book and told her it was time to go to sleep. She lasted maybe another 5 minutes. Then she said, "This was a bad idea for the summertime. It is too hot! I can't wait for some cold weather. Let's go in." Whew. Thank you! 

Big sister attempting to keep Camille safe at the top of the slide. Good job Riley!

Riley's latest favorite game! Denis and I bought this in Baltimore when we were there for a friend's wedding years ago. Paul was just 10 months old then. We left the kids with Mimi and Pops and had the chance to really enjoy ourselves. We enjoyed ourselves so much we bought our kids a game they weren't even old enough to play yet. Look at em now! 

Camille's family night fun.

This was the second out of 3 batches of pears from our pear tree so far this summer. 

I turned the above into the below! Yummy! Especially on top of vanilla ice cream!

The Children's Discovery Center was having a hola hoop contest while we were there. Riley won, all 3 times! All of my kids loved it!

Trip to Target for a backpack turned into a lot of fun! The kids love these balls, but I NEVER buy them because I won't spend over $3 a piece for them. Since it's end of summer they are on sale! Each kid got one and they are having a blast with them. 

Our latest family portrait.

Bowling fun with Nanny Jaime and the Braun boys.

We had a great time! Thanks for the idea Nanny!

No camera, just iPhone pics. 

Swimming fun with our best play pals!

Mess? Yes! All four in one spot? Double YES! I spent half the summer praying for moments like these so I could sit a minute, catch my breath, and refuel. 

We had such an AWESOME trip to see our wonderful cousins this summer. Jill, Cara, and Mark showed us around a very rainy town for a weekend. They kept us well entertained despite the nasty weather. 

Matching girls ready for church: Jill was thankfully able to convince Charlie to take off her red pants by telling her she wouldn't match the other girls if she wore them. It wasn't a battle I was going to fight, but I"m so glad Jill fixed it. 

Camille's very first movie (shortly after Charlie's).

It was in a small theatre and we were the only ones there. 

She really enjoyed the chairs and running around while we watched the really cool movie on reptiles. We heard quite a lot of "ewwwws' coming from the kids (maybe me too). 

Yes that is a real skunk! Riley was the most fascinated and excited about it. How precious. I definitely don't want to come across one in the wild though.

Who knew a weekend project at The Home Depot could be so much fun?

I guess making that car was hard work.

You can't tell from Paul's face here, but he LOVED this activity! He said, "That was the most AWESOME surprise! Thank you!"

Ever since Camille met Allie she barks at every animal she sees (our hermit crab included). I can't convince her otherwise.

Oh these girls. 

I just love Riley's commentary throughout this video she took. I'm definitely going to miss her while she's at school.

My Paul played peek-a-boo with Camille several mornings so I could stay in bed a few more minutes. Once I get her out of the crib I don't have a choice but to get up. Those few moments were cherished. The girls wouldn't dare help in this way. My sweet boy is awesome!

Homemade carrot cake? Yeap, twice this summer. Shame on me. I probably ate most of it both times. 

Charlie's first time going to a movie theatre! She did much better than Paul at this age. She did ask when it was going to be over before it ever started. She did great sitting still, but it was too hard for her to follow. 

When guests come over they get roped into dancing to "Our God is an Awesome God." There could be worse things right? Actually, I think they enjoyed it as much as the kids. :) 

We went swimming a good bit this summer (something I didn't take any pictures of). Camille's latest thing is climbing all the way in the back and sitting in Riley's seat. She is so proud of herself. She knows I'm not climbing in to get her either. She gets to sit there until Riley gets in and hands her to me for her own seat. She thinks this is so funny. 

We had such a fun trip to the Insectarium with a whole crew of family. I passed a kid off to each adult and pretty much stuck with Camille. We couldn't have done it without a lot of help. It was an extremely crowded day. 

Riley wouldn't try any of the bugs, so I tricked her into having "cream cheese on a chip." This was her face after she ate it and I told her it had a cricket in it. Ha! Mean mommy.