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August 2018

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My Online Photography Workshop

This is how I learned to edit my photos

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Leslie Marsh

Hey Karen,

These pictures are wonderful, as are all the photos you share with us. I am so grateful that you share your life with us, and I'm so sorry that someone felt they had the right to question why Courtney was missing from some events. Shocked really. Anyone who reads your blog, understands that you are a blended family. As if it were anyone's business.

This past Thursday, I spent Thanksgiving with friends as my boys were with their father. Friday was our Thanksgiving dinner, and it was just as wonderful Friday as it would have been on Thursday.



I love reading about your family. You seem like a wonderful caring mother! Remember that people who are not nice are not usually happy with themselves. It is really not a reflection of you. It is really about them. So thank you for sharing yourself and your family with others. You are an inspiration for all!

Brooke - in Oregon

Hey Girl! Looks like a great day, even with the blowout and the mad Coley! :) Bummers that some people are so 'perfect' that they can pass jugdement! You guys seem to do a great job putting the kids 1st which is what is important. I am hoping this is what will end up happening with us too. Hopefully anyway. Thanks for the trip, it was fun to 'come' along! Did you have blackberry pie at Beckie's??? OH MY GOSH that is SOOOOO good!

Trina Jaynes

Hey Karen----

I've been reading your blog now for several months but have never commented. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful, amazing photos with have a great family and it is obvious that you are a terrific mother. Sorry that someone had the audacity to question you or your family. Don't let anyone's opinion get you know the truth of the matter and that is what is important!

My favorite part of your blog (besides the fact that you seem to be a great mom who has the same worries and concerns as the rest of us :) ) is your amazing photos. Do you find that you keep getting better as you gain experience? How long having you been taking photos? Have you taken any classes or read any particular books that have been helpful or insightful? If you were to teach a photography class, I would definitely be interested!!!!!

Take care and keep the inspiration coming!

Elizabeth B

thanks for posting the pics and the updates on your family.
it's unfortunate that there are others out there who feel that they have the right to pass judgement, but we all know that those people are in a much sadder state than they realize.

you guys are good people and you're making the best of a complicated situation, and you can tell those kids are loved. that's what counts.

Brooke Hren

Family hikes are some of the best fun. And we have experienced the diaper blowout (at a fireworks event) as well. But my scattebrain FORGOT the diaper bag so I had to go to the store and buy new everything. I haven't forgotten since though, lol. I have a three year-old that is not scared of anything either and I can't imagine what she will be like at Coley's age.

And I am sorry too that someone had to lack of manners to comment on Courtney. For all they new she just wasn't in the shots that you posted. I love reading your blog and have learned alot since I began. Thank you for sharing your family and knowledge with us.

Susan R

Looks like everyone had a wonderful day, thanks for sharing.

As for the anonymous comments, shame on them. No one's business but your family's. Having been a single parent for many years with lots of multiple family issues I can identify with the difficulties. It is patently clear that you put all of your children first in your lives and provide a safe, fun and loving environment for each of them. I commend you, I know how hard it can be. From where I sit you are doing a wonderful job.


You share so many beautiful pictures of all of your kids! I never noticed that Courtney was "missing" on some of them. My 7-year old isn't in as many pictures as my girls because he always seems to make wierd faces and comments and disrupts picture taking - people probably think he doesn't live with us at all - and he's ours full-time - no where else for him to go (although I'd like to send him away at times)!! I agree that I want to take an online photography and editing class from you. Your family pictures are gorgeous.

Erica Hettwer

Some people need a hobby!



What a wonderful day and what absolutely wonderful pictures... I too have been reading your blog since Annie was born and have learned helpful technique and what a wonderful Mother you are... The fact that you take time out of your busy everyday to post and share your family is a testament in how lucky your family is to have you journaling their childhood memories... You are an inspiration to me on a daily basis with not only your photography and journaling, but your trueness... Thanks again for sharing and have a wonderful week:)


Karen - I read your blog all the time and have met you at shows (I used to work for Cropper Hopper) and I have never commented... Your photos make me a better photographer and I am grateful you make the time to post. I am sorry people are idiots because comments like that would make me want to take a blog private... I am sorry that happened. I am glad you addressed it head on and continued to post because I cannot imagine the amount of people you encourage to take better photos. You will never know the awesome family images you help people create. Thanks.
Kristi Sikora-Blankenship (from Cropper Hopper)

Janelle in MT

i must say that i absolutely love that photo of coley peeking barely out to scare everyone while saying, "shhh"...absolutely so magical. these photos really are the magical type...they all give me goosebumps- feels fairytale-ish! :)
on another dare someone attack you personally about custody situations...& how dare they even ask! it's none of their da*n business! seriously! i absolutely love your blog & come here everyday in hopes of seeing more photos of your family- they truly are inspirational to me (and others)- i'm a better photographer because you take the time to explain how you get the photos you take. so sorry that you have people wondering/questioning something in your own personal life- definitely needs a wake up call! hugs to you!


WhEW!!!! I am so glad that I'm not the only mama who forgets to pack changes of clothes - course mine is only 10 months old....but have no idea how much better I feel! :) You should see the pics of our Thanksgiving adventure!!


There is one in every bunch, you can count on it. Someone to stir the pot. I've spent the entire weekend (finally) putting my blog together... and your post has definitively served as a reminder to what can happen when you open yourself up to an online community. Mostly good, but always that lingering chance. My husband and I have been together for more than 13 years, and the youngest of his first two children is 15. He doesn't remember a time in his life when I wasn't there, but sifting through photos... he seemed to be absent a lot. It's just the way it is when you've two families sharing the same child. You make it work. But I surely am sorry that you were made to feel like you had to pubicly justify her absense. And by the way, I never noticed. I'm sure I've seen hundreds of photos of that beautiful girl. I hope Annie is well soon.


shame on them for questioning your life.

thank you for sharing as much as you do! i love your stories, and i love your photo's... both are inspiring.

please don't change anything! :)

Sadie in GP

LOVE the moments you share Karen!

Funny, I was just thinking last week, Courtney seems to be so involved in your life! As a step-mom, I know it's hard to be questioned about custody arrangements. People think it's open for discussion regardless of their involvement. I've never understood why people think that's an OK question to be asked.

I think you're awesome. And you can put stock in that :)


Karen, WOW...these are some of the best pictures you have EVER taken! between your stories and your pictures, you have such a knack for making me feel like I was actually there too!
Seems to me that "anonymous" is simply jealous of you and probably is a lonely and miserable person. Don't let some person with no tact or class get to you. For every idiot out there, there are hundreds of us who anxiously await each of your posts and devour the stories you tell. we are all hoping that some of your scrapbooking and photography *magic* will rub off on us!


I love your blog and the PRIVILEGE of enjoying you and your family. It is so hard to understand some people. Good for you for putting whoever that was straight and know that there are more of us who understand your intentions without needing to judge what we don't know. Poor Annie but what a trooper she is. Thanks for sharing!


i haven't even noticed courtney missing to be honest w/ u. i know you guys are a blended family but never really paid attention to the particulars 'cuz it's none of my business really. i love that u share your life w/ us. u guys are a great, fun family. my son sebastian has many parallels to coley so u make me laugh. i love your scrapbook style & products, i would so very much take an online photography class from u, i love your advice & you've helped me create my photo library & back-ups. please don't disappear 'cuz there's someone out there who has lost sight of what's important & good in this life. thnx for being part of the goodness. xo- maryjo


Hi Karen!

I lurk without comment...perfectly content with being allowed to view what you share with all of us. Your photography skills and willingness to share your thoughts, knowledge, time, make me (and many others) feel so good. When I found out you were teaching at Scrapbook Oasis last winter I didn't hesitate to book a hotel room, buy a roundtrip ticket and spend two of the BEST days learning from you. I will do it again in a heartbeat. Out of all of the places/events that I have gone to that weekend was one of the best ever! You are a genuine, loving, giving woman who piles her plate so high not because you want to do it all, but because you don't know how to say no to helping, sharing, teaching.

I can only speak for myself (but I am sure that others will agree)you are a wonderful woman and I enjoy you sharing your world with me and I look forward to learning from you both in person and through your blog. Anyone that has the audacity to post such a personal question must have forgotten her manners, good ettiquite, or just her friggin put it politely.

Again, thank you for always sharing.

Betsey Cline

I am so sorry that someone made you feel you had to post and defend your family. I love reading your blog and seeing the pictures of your great kids --all 4 of them. I haven't noticed Courtney Lee is missing in events -in fact sometimes I think she is there more than Cole. For someone to try to make you feel bad about that is unthinkable and just plain rude.

sarah sabri

looks like a great day out with the kids! and as always, fabulous pictures. I think my fave this time is the one that looks like Coley is hanging off the're gonna be in for it with that one ;) cheers!


Hi Karen
I always read your blog and totally love it and feel priviledged that you let people into your everyday life. Just wanted to wish Annie better as my littlest one who is very similar age to Annie has just had croup last week and a chest infection and it was not fun. She also had a couple of rather scary explosive nappies last week which I am sure was due to her illness.

Wouldn't worry what silly people with little minds say, you are obviously doing a fantastic job. Take care xxx


Great photo's as usual LOL. And by the way you don't need to explain yourself to anyone your a great mom and step mom and your family knows that and that is what is most important!

Nathalie :o)

Your pictures are just fabulous!!
And I really have to learn how to make a black shadow on the edges: I love that!
TFS! Nath


Karen, don't let some harpy get to you.

Your blog is fantastic! I was actually surprised a couple of weeks back when you mentioned something about Courtney's mom because I certainly could not tell from your blog that she wasn't yours. Your love for her spills out just as it does for all your other kids...

I absolutely love what you do on here and look forward to reading your blog each morning. Please don't let someone take that joy from you.


Looks like a fun FAMILY day. If you have to count how many pictures your children are in, I would say Ross would be the one in the least amount of your pictures, and that can be attributed to the fact that he is a teenager. Shame, Shame Anonymous, I could say more, but as the wise Forrest Gump says, "That's all I've got to say about that".

Happy Monday!

Janine Langer (Aline)

Wow, those pictures are again so beautiful, with lots of love!


I will never understand why some people are always looking for something cruel to say about someone else. I love seeing the pictures of your children ... all of them. It is so obvious how much you and Josh love them. Thank you for providing so many people with a smile each morning.


Sounds like you've got LOTS of support on your side of this issue, and now add me as one more! Who really would do something like that? Someone who obviously doesn't have enough to do in their own life that they feel the need to micro manage someone elses. Take it for what it's worth. Don't spend another minute thinking about it. You do a wonderful job of blending Courtney into your family. End of story!

I love your photographs, and always get so excited when I see you've updated your blog. Your pics are AMAZING! I so want to take pics like you do!

One favor to ask you...can you take some fun pics of your x-mas tree lights and teach all of us how to do it too? I would SOOOOOOOOO appreciate that!!!



Hey Karen,

I've said it before (on here and when I met you in Columbus, Ohio in person)....I love seeing your photos and hearing about your family. I can't wait to have one of my own....right now all I have pictures to take of is cats and you can only imagine how difficult that is. :P

Looks like you guys had a great time...and not to sound weird or anything, but you and your family make me realise what kind of parent I want to be when it is my turn (if it ever happens)...and that is a really wicked cool thing.



Ditto to what Christi said.
I love how the warmth and love for your family shines through in your photos and words.

Kristi G

I've always been impressed with how all 4 of your kids are included in all your pictures. I actually assumed that you & Josh had full custody of Courtney because she seems to always be in your pictures and the adventures you share on your blog. You always seem to treat her the same as your 3 biological children when you write about them, and it's obvious Josh treats the 2 boys the same as his 2 biological girls as well. Anonymous is certainly allowed to have her opinions, but she should keep them to herself from now on instead of hurting your feelings by sharing them.


I read your blog for MONTHS before I even realized that you weren't Courtney's biological mom. FWIW, I think that means you're doing a great job! I love the photos of the hike; I think it's my favorite group of pics that I've ever seen you post.

Hope you had a great holiday,
PS: Please come back to Memory Lane...I live less than 30 minutes away and I just couldn't make it that weekend (all three of my monsterettes were in former babysitter's wedding).


I love reading your blog because I enjoy your stories of kid type frustrations and of course, motherly love! You remind me that we are all very much the same as women/mothers and that really, we are all connected in that way!
A picture can tell a story without having words connected to them, and your pictures show so much love within your family. Thank you for sharing yourself with us!


All of those photographs are beautiful, Karen! I am SO sorry that some coward is posting rude comments like that. Geesh! What is wrong with people? I am thankful that you share your beautiful photographs, scrapbook pages and words with us all. I think your family is beautiful and just remember to not let those "joy stealers" win because they suck. Yup, they do! Hugs!!


I love reading your blog.....don't let that person bother you. I guess they have nothing better to do!

I'm asking Santa for a Nikon D40 for Christmas and then I'll be checking all of your archives for photo tips!!


Absolutely! Just keep being you!

Stephanie Ainsburg

awesome picture Karen! so sorry that someone has made you feel you need to explain yourself. anyone who knows you knows what a caring mom you are to ALL the kids. and anyone who doesn't...well, to quote Auntie Em from the wizard of oz, being a Christian woman I just can't say it.
p.s. what a great idea to use a sweatshirt as temp pants!!! lol!


Mean ~ thats one word to describe people passing judgment on others. Glass houses and stones and all that. And esp. when they do it under an anon. BOOOO, what a totally meanie.

Loving your pictures, absolutely find your whole blog my fave out of a very long list. Makes me feel like i'm a real, normal mom too who has ups and downs but loves her kiddos dearly. I appreciate that no matter where in the world you are a mom, our problems and day to day battles and fun are still the same.

Keep blooging and ignore those meanies!


Awsome pictures. I love reading your blog-thank you for being so willing to share your life with all of us out here in blogland. Just ignore the negative people-they aren't worth it.

I always love seeing the beautiful places that you guys hike. So amazing. Maybe someday I'll get to live someplace like Oregon instead of a very flat part of Illinois (we're here while my husband is attending college)! :-)

Stephanie Ainsburg

awesome pictures Karen! so sorry that someone has made you feel you need to explain yourself. anyone who knows you knows what a caring mom you are to ALL the kids. and anyone who doesn't...well, to quote Auntie Em from the wizard of oz, being a Christian woman I just can't say it.
p.s. what a great idea to use a sweatshirt as temp pants!!! lol!

Meredith S.

It makes me crazy when people think that they have the right to comment on people's personal lives via their blogs. I feel so privileged that we get to have a glimpse, via your amazing pictures, into your life, even though we don't know you. I'm sorry that someone is being weird and petty. I'm so impressed, all the time, with the way you seem to handle the his/hers/ours situation in your family. It appears that your kids are all equally loved and accepted...and you guys have a such a sweet dynamic. Thanks for letting us "in" to your world. I love your blog!


You are doing a wonderful job of including everyone in family stuff!!

Amy Z

if that person had any interest in you or your family they would know that you are Courtney's step-mom and it would be obvious that you share custody. So that person is just trying to stir up trouble and you should feel like you have to defend your family.
Your pictures are totally awesome! That one of Coley peeking out is just precious.
Which lens did you use?
I just got a 30mm f/1.4 and I am having a real hard time with the focusing. I love the results when the subject is in focus but it is frustrating. Did you find this problem when you started using a prime lens?
thanks for all your photography wisdom! Love you!!!!


It looks like you've had a wonderful weekend! Love the photos! Do you use the save for web feature in Photoshop? The grayness could be coming from that... it's almost as if it's set to slightly desaturate the photos when saving? Just a thought...

Amy Z

that should say "you SHOULDN'T feel like you need to defend your family."


I had to delurk, too, and tell you how I love seeing your view from behind the camera. You inspire me in more ways than one :) Thank you!

Tammy Gray

I am a HUGE fan, and as such I read all of your posts. I also drool over your products and your photography and leave totally inspired. It is NOT obvious that she is ever missing from anything. It IS obvious that you love her with a passion! Keep up the great work!

Susan Lew

Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us. I have been reading your blog for about a year and although I thought you had a blended family, I couldn't tell how it was blended. Don't let a few petty people get you down. :-)


Looks like you had a wonderful time - in a beautiful place. Poor Annie - hope she is well soon !

And just so you know - it wasn't ME posting to your blog about your kids - I don't like to sign my name for fear that MY ex-husband will locate me by Googling my name and find it signed on one of the blogs I read frequently. Feel free to drop in at my URL any time. Hope your Thanksgiving was great !


It's always so sad when cowards find that they need to mind YOUR business instead of their own. And yes, they are cowards, because they don't have the intestinal fortitude to own up to what they write.

Why people feel that they should be able to control how YOU blog is a mystery. I constantly say this to others who encounter this intrusiveness on their blogs: It is YOUR blog, you are free to do with it what you wish.

Your photos are LOVELY and wonderful and I wish so much that I could take pictures like that. Guess I need a camera that can do that first!

tara pollard pakosta

gorgeous shots karen!!!
and i can't believe someone would actually ask you that
about courtney, because i have never noticed she wasn't in any photos,
in fact i didn't know she wasn't your daughter until i saw it on the cocoa daisy layout
and was like HUH? cause in all reality she really is your daughter too and i would have never known the difference if you hadn't said it on that layout. you are one awesome mom, to ALL OF YOUR KIDS> keep up the great work!!!!


Karen, I am so sorry that you even had to address that TRASH; like it's anyone's business. I have often thought how wonderful it is that you will have this blog as a little internet diary... and if you were really in a pinch you could just print out the entries as a little scrapbook. YOU'RE DOING GREAT. Don't let the turkeys get you down. Every one of us has our own burdens and things to "work out" within our lives. Yours are only our business if/when you choose to make them so. (E-mail me and I'll share mine with you if it will make you feel better!) ha ha - Chin up! :->


THese are wonderful photos and have inspired me to bring along our camera on our next hike. Our kids love going on similar walks. I ready your blog daily and really appreciate all the photos and photography tips. I am REALLY hoping you do an online class soon. You're awesome!
I am so sorry that someone made an anonymous comment about who was or wasn't in certain photos. Really, who would even notice unless they were some unhappy person with nothing better to do? Familes are families no matter how they came together and time and time again you show that you are an awesome family and you inspire many of us who read your blog.
Have a super day!!


I don't comment much on your blog, but I love to read it. Whoever the anonymous, not so nice, yet very NOSY person is out there. Well I guess they have issues of their own. Being that I just spent my first Holiday without my kids because my partner and I split up, I am thankful that I know someone who has been down this road, rocky as it may be at times. But look at the new road you are on.
I ask Jill all the time, "how did Karen do it, it is so hard to be a single mom?" Then I realize that it can be done, and it has to be done. Not everyone is as perfect as Anonoymous, but I really feel for their kids. And I realize how well adjusted my kids, your kids and every other family that rearrnges their lives to make it as easy and GREAT for th ekids that are involved.
I am sure deep down Courtney's mom feels super lucky to have someone like you in her life, I know I would.

Tanya Webster

you look absolutely beautiful in these's nice to see you in the photos too missy! :)

as far as the anonymous poster....well i think you already know how i feel about those kinds of comments anyway so I will abstain from posting nasty words to address that...they arent worth the time...

i hope that sweet little annie feels better soon! :)

Jo E

Hey Karen. Until your recent LO with journalling re Courtney I had no idea that you were not her Mum (nor have I ever noticed her absence in your pictures) and I have been an avid reader of your blog for 18 months. I love the term "blended" family (never heard that before) it is such a great way to describe it. I have 2 older step children and my partner and I have a 2 year old so not so different to you. It's never easy but we all do the very best we can with the situations we are given. I feel priveleged to share this little glimpse into your life, your photography and your scrapbooking. You are an inspiration as a mother, photographer and scrapbooker. Keep doing what you are doing and know that people like me think you and your blog are fab.


amen that. if you're brave enough to post a comment on any blog, you should be adult enough to sign your name.

and i love the photos!


That's just a very crappy thing to do. I'd say they were pulling the jealousy card, that's why they posted anonymously, but I guess their life just sucks so bad they need to pick on someone. Sorry it had to be you. :(

Terri B in Oregon

Oh my! I love your blog and think that some people should just plain mind their own business!! It's tough to have a blended family, and I think you do a fantastic job of keeping it balanced and in perspective! Pleeeeezzzzeee don't let one bad apple spoil the whole barrel. Keep up the wonderful blog!!


some people are so rude...
and I hate that you felt you had to explain.

that place looks way fun & and very beautiful!
I'll have to remember it as an idea for a weekend trip sometime!


Thank you SO much for sharing your photos. I love it when my bloglines lights up with an update from you -- I LOVE your photography -- you're such an inspiration! Life's too short to sweat the negative comments -- just delete them!

Dawn  M.


Wow! I guess I never stop to read peoples comments on your blog. I just read what you write and look at the gorgeous pictures you take. Sorry to hear that someone is being so cruel about such a personal issue. You don't have to explain anything to anyone from this blog. You're awesome. Don't forget it.


Amazing how people choose to spend their time. I, for one, thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your talent, your method, the cute antics of your family, and your inspiration. My youngest is 8 years old, and I so enjoy reading about Miss Annie - miss those years...and Cole and Courtney sound just like my Taylor. You are priceless.

Joni Kuehl

I too LOVE your blog and honestly don't count how many times courtney lee is in one and coley in the other! All I know is that keep posting the beautiful pictures of your beautiful family!

Joni.. btw I am going to a crop friday night and plan on using my courtney lee add on kit SO excited!!!

Kathy (kathyb)

Looks like you had a great time - love all the photos. I too want to thank you for sharing so much of your life with the "scrapbooking" world. I get much inspiration from your pictures and all the photography tips, and am lucky to be getting s new lens for my camera for Christmas after showing my husband your wonderful hallowe'en photos, so a huge thankyou :)


Croop brings on diaper blow out! Having had 5 children prone to croop, we experienced an unplanned diaper situation or two when the children were babes. The cool fresh air is helpful, some of my husbands best times with the children have been spent out on our porch in the middle of the night looking at the stars with a bundled up croopy child. I was too once a single Mom, when my daughter was 6 I met my husband, he immediately stepped in as Dad, the other 4 children are both of ours. She would go to her Dad's house every other weekend, and it was an incredibly emotional thing and very personal too. Families do what they need to do to raise healthy, God fearing, independent children. And that is all that matters.

fran heupel

so sorry that someone would do that to you. I thoroughly enjoy looking forward to your blog daily. Love your work and all that you share especially all the beautiful pictures of your family and beautiful projects you have created.
Thank you so much for sharing a part of you with all of us.



I look forward to reading your blog every morning while my kids are getting ready for school :)

Please don't let negative people stop you from posting your work. They are truly inspiring!


Karen, love your blog, love your pictures, love your imperfection (which we all are and need to admit to), love the pictures of thanksgiving (my batteries were all dead on thursday), love your efforts to get outside and do things together as a family because it does take an effort to drag everyone away from the TV and PC and video games, love southern Oregon. Keep up the good work!!

Mary Lou

I, too have a blended family and totally understand how things may appear but don't sweat it. You are doing a great job as Courtney's "mom", how can we tell? It is those funny shaped hearts she does with her hands that tells us. Great pictures of the hike, just showed my hubby and now he wants to check it out. I am bringing my camera!!

Carolyn Hall

I think it's a compliment to you and your family that if you just look at the pictures on your blog and don't know the history, you look like any other family. If I didn't know any better I wouldn't be able to tell who belongs to who and that's a testiment of the relationships you have both formed with all your kids. You do so much for so many just by sharing your life. Who cares what anybody else has to say? I think you both have the perfect family!!! Please don't stop being you.!!!

Teresa B

Amen Sister!!! Nuff said!! Pix are great.. Keep on keepin' on. Love your photogs and the silly things you share about you and your family..


It's not easy to blog about your life and family and I thank you for doing so, so honestly.
And what smart parents to use a sweatshirt as pants! NEVER would have thought of that myself!


Hi Karen,

I am a lurker too. Have followed your work for years since you were a CK Hall of Famer. Love your blog and seeing your amazing photos.

People can be so thoughtless asking you to justify such personal issues.


PS Love the photo of you and Annie.


Karen: I took one of your photography classes at Scrapbook Oasis in Irvine earlier this year and learned SO much! You were so down to earth and practical--and really ignited a passion in me for photography. THANK YOU! I know from experience how discouraging judgmental comments can be---but just know that you are appreciated and admired by many. Keep up the good work and don't let the turkeys get you down!

Jen M.

Oh, the dreaded diaper blowout -- it's been a while since I experienced one of those. Thankfully my youngest is almost out of diapers and I'm happy to have the blowouts as a distant memory. It looks like you were able to enjoy the hike anyway, which is a huge accomplishment. I'm so sorry you have received comments about Courtney "missing" -- I found when I became a parent that all of a sudden complete strangers felt the need to comment on me or my children or my abilities as a parent -- it still shocks me sometimes what people will do or say. It seems clear to me that Courtney is doubly blessed to have two families, and the time you spend with her I'm sure is building wonderful memories that she will always have. And even though you generously share photos on your blog, it's nobody's business but your family's.

Val from Down Under

Hi Karen, I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing so much of your life with, well, everyone! I love it that you share so much with us and that we can give you constant support. Courtney doesn't look like she's missing out on anything, - I bet you miss her like crazy when she's not around though. I'm with Deneen - you love your family and they love you. That's what's important. Love to you and your family.

Alicia Sharp

Karen you got some AWESOME shots! I so wish I could work a camera like you! You really do have a beautiful family! Little Annie always puts a smile on my face! Give her a kiss for me please!;p

stephanie P.

As usual I love your pictures and am always excited to see what you have to share with us... it's a shame that people have the energy to post such negativity when ultimately it's none of their business! I'm so glad you stuck up for yourself even though you shouldn't have to. You rock and your family rocks and that's too bad that your anonymous poster can't accept that!
again... thanks for sharing~


I love reading your blog and finding out what adventures you have been up to ! You all look like a wonderful happy family, life isn't always so clean cut, so we make the most of what we have and the time have together. You're all just great! Take Care

Kathy C.

LOVE all the photos and more importantly the fun stories that go with them! I've also learned (via a really bad diaper blow-out experience with my own daughter)...we you don't pack extra stuff you will ALWAYS need it! Of course it took more than 3 times for me to really REMEMBER to pack the extra clothes!

Looks like you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving & family hiking day!

Keep on bloggin', bloggin', bloggin'.....

~ Kathy C.
Hillsboro, OR


hey there.
so, I think you're photographs are beautiful, I know you've heard that 100 thousand times, but still... So I went back through and read all of your photography tips. I shoot with a canon 20D and have learned from you that I need a new lens. bad!! So My next investment will be a canon 50mm 1.8... like you said, because it was the cheapest of your suggestions, and as the wife of a college student I am poorer than poor. So... onto my next question: I have had a problem with my 20D for a long time now. When I upload the photos, they are always darker and redder than I'd like. Now on the LCD screen they look BEAUtiful, even when zoomed in... and then uploaded they look horrible. I thought it was my computer, but when I upload from our point and shoot, they are beautiful... so i have come to the conclusion that it is my shooting, even though the LCD screen looks great. Please help me figure out what it is. I have tried moving the white balance to auto and some other things... have you ever experienced this or know someone who has?? Any help you can give me, even directing me to someone who has experienced this... anything would be more helpful; than not!


I dont usually post, (just read and entirely enjoy) because I know you must be so busy but I would just like to THANK YOU for all that you do! I am also the "mom" of a blended family and know how touchy the subject of joint visitation can be… and how personal. I am so sorry that anyone would bring that into question, you are truly awesome in all that you do!! Please don’t let them get you down!! Wishing you happiness and remember to smile!


As usual your photos are shining with the love and tenderness of a family. I also understand the pain and heartache with having a percent of time with a child and I find it so odd how people feel they have a right to comment (nameless) on something they don't even understand muchless have the full story on. I wondered once before, proably after I sent you my wedding pictures if you were married previously but never thought to ask. Simply thought you were lucky like me, to have wonderful children and have met a man who is just as wonderful. Lucky you and Lucky me too :).

Carina - "small" Beach wedding photos


As usual your photos are shining with the love and tenderness of a family. I also understand the pain and heartache with having a percent of time with a child and I find it so odd how people feel they have a right to comment (nameless) on something they don't even understand muchless have the full story on. I wondered once before, proably after I sent you my wedding pictures if you were married previously but never thought to ask. Simply thought you were lucky like me, to have wonderful children and have met a man who is just as wonderful. Lucky you and Lucky me too :).

Carina - "small" Beach wedding photos


Oh, that place is sooo gorgeous! Not far from there at Crater Lake is where my husband proposed! We need to go back there but I bet it will start filling with snow soon so we should bring the toboggons with us!

Lisa aka Mylerna

This comment is pretty late so you may not read it but let who ever that was bother you. I've only commented on here a few times but I read your blog everyday! My husband and I have decided (for the moment) not to have children, that decision changes daily but for now we are still at a No. However, I read your blog and think if I had a family, I would want it to be something like yours. I only hope if I ever have kids, I am half the mother you are.

I also love your photography. I'm currently taking a class here in Atlanta and finding that much of the stuff I'm learning you've covered well here in your blog. I'm a hands on learner so I'm glad I took the class, but I'm also glad I read your blog so I knew what he was talking about!

Anyway, sorry for the long post. Just wanted to say THANKS!

Mylerna aka Lisa

Ooops typo - meant to say DON'T let them bother you!

Mylerna aka Lisa

Ooops typo - meant to say DON'T let them bother you!


I have four grandchildren, and getting them all in a photo (or even present at a photo shoot!) is darn hard work. It makes me sad that someone feels they have a right to question your family, but the fact that they don't have the guts to sign their posts shows just what all the others have said--that's a sad, pathetic person who needs to get a life. I LOVE your family and wish I could figure out how to get you to adopt me!!


Thanks Karen for sharing your life through your beautiful photos. I have never commented on a blog before but yours is the first one I read everyday and my favourite one. Thanks again - Sharon (Australia)


Oh, please! You totally rock as a mom - it's so obvious. You don't owe anybody here any explanations (um, well, if you could keep explaining where you find the great deals on the kids' clothes, though, I'd appreciate it) ;)

I'm so grateful that you share your perfectly imperfect life with us! Thank you :)


I'm also a lurker at your site and just wanted to let you know I really love your photography. Thanks for sharing and don't let some nasty comments get to you!

tammy t

Love your photos! And that one of you and Annie is especially beautiful! You have a lovely family that I love reading about!

tammy t


Karen- I think all of these ladies said it already but its just crazy for anyone to judge you. You have mentioned more than once that you share custody of Courtney. And if this person had read any of the other entries they would know like the rest of us that you adore her! I only hope that you know how much the rest of us enjoy your blog and that it makes up for some silly person.

Paola Norman

Dear Karen, What a great hike, love that family photo and esp. the one of Annie and Josh, so tender and sweet. It is unfortunate that other people have to medel or make assumptions on something that they know nothing of..and that is a reflection on them not are awesome, I love that you share sooo much of your family with us, the ups and the downs..Iam really appreciative of your sense of humour and that you are so thoughtful in posting and sharing so much information all on your own time. Love it, and you post pretty much daily. gotta love that thank you! From the looks of comments on this thread I would say that a lot of people really love and support you, so hang on to that! Lastly, even if you didn't share the info. which you choose to with that person, it doesn't matter..all that matters is that you know and God knows , because God always sees! take care, Paola

michelle tabb

The private pieces of your life are just that. Obviously you have a HUGE blog following because you take phenomenal photos and are a wonderful storyteller. Please don't take your blog private because of some anonymous ass. Just adding my two cents.

kim in Camas - ScrapToMyLu

no need to jusify, it's no one's business.......obviously you love her like your own and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.
I'm sorry you had to deal with this. Some people are just plain nasty.

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