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August 2018

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Are you kidding me? Those are GREAT pictures Karen. You are waaay too hard on yourself! I love the one of Annie looking at Courtney Lee - so sweet! :)

Shirley K.

I think Cali looks good with a "toothy" smile. I used to be a closed mouth smiler too. But then my husband made me pose for pictures - but refused to actually snap the picture - until I smiled with my teeth. It was like a staring contest that I lost every time. Also, I was too busy looking at toothy smiles that I didn't even notice Ross's goofy face at first. It made me laugh.


Great pictures, Karen! I look forward to the pumpkin patch every year too. Just posted mine on my blog this week too! :-) Hope you have a great week!


Cali is so pretty. I love her hair-do. I am going to try that out but I am sure that I won't look as classy as she does.


Karen, don't be so hard on yourself. Your photos capture your/your family's life beautifully whether they are technically correct in your eyes or not. :)

Cali, don't worry what a bunch of us blog commenters say. You're beautiful no matter which way you smile (and I was a "toothy smile" voter the other day). Do what makes you happy and it will show through.

Blessings, all.


Ok Karen I laughed out loud at the goat (or whatever it is)smiling!
I love how you write-I wouldn't know a grammatical error if I tripped over it-so it's all good with me!
Cali is a beautiful girl with either smile (although I do prefer her toothy one!:-)
Thanks for the laugh Karen!


It's hard to shoot and re-shoot at the same places, that are tradition of course. I've thought that about myself, at the places we frequent. I've almost not brought the camera to some places, because of repetion and the fact that I feel, the been there done that, and then place to much pressure on myself to leave with the best shots I've ever shot... it's the perfectionist in me. What makes your shots so special is that they are a story of what happened that day, and your journalling backs that up. PS- We have a you can pick it, if you can lift it rule too!

Ashley S.

That last picture of the goat smiling made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the laugh - I needed it.


Love your post! Makes me laugh. I love the smiling "little pony".

Kristin Reinhard

They are great pics Karen! I found the pumpkin patch really hard this year - it was a really sunny day without a cloud in sight and not much shade around. Tough for a beginner like me ;) I am going to make Rolf go back there with me and hope for a little bit more cloud!


Even with the whining, pouting, goose-pecking, dog poop, and goat drool, your pictures are great and it looks like everyone had fun. And you made me laugh on top of it all.


What are you talking about? The pictures are great, Karen! I wish my pictures would turn out as great as yours. Feel better!

The photos are wonderful and highlights your usual ability to capture the everyday moments of life - with your great technique skill & brilliance thrown in. The whole pumpkin patch finding days/halloween tradition isn't that big a thing in Australia so I'm living vicariously through your post! And Karen, your journalling is priceless. I always want to say thank you to you...because I mean it...thanks for sharing, Renee.


I absolutely love your blog and your photos!

Romantic bed and breakfasts

Wow!!What a huge pumpkins i love them.They looks so beautiful and were really nice.

Jennifer M.

I'm so glad you posted this. I know I get so upset when my pictures don't come out as well as I'd hoped and I always wonder how everyone else does it. I'm just happy to know I'm not alone in this!

Having said that, I think the pictures are great. The shot of Annie looking at Courtney is to die for cute.


I volunteer at a local elementary school near my job and the teacher I work with has a few key phrases to keep her kids in line: "You get what you get and you don't get upset" is one of her favorites when we're passing out project supplies. I guess the rhyming catches their ears! Another is "criss-cross, applesauce" when they're sitting on the library rug...


I {heart} Gymboree too! I think my girls had all of the same fall outfits yours did through the pumpkin patch years....


Well, if I could take photos that good on a bad day.....

& I love pumpkin patches too...


I liked the photos and enjoyed looking back at the years past. My family went to the pumpkin patch this weekend too BUT most of my photos are us in the corn maze---My son LOVES that thing!

Sarah K

I'd love to take pictures as "bad" as yours. They look great to me and tell the story of your day. Please pass along to Cali that she needn't be self-conscious about her smile. She is beautiful, no matter whether her teeth are showing or not.

nancy in ks

Mr. Simpson can take your run-on sentences and shove them under a stack of your fantastic "not-so- great' shots. Mr. Simpson, if you are reading this, I'm sure you're a nice guy, though.

Brooke - in Oregon

I would have loved to have been at the Pumpkin Patch last weekend but it was not Our Weekend with the little missy. Cali is so cute, she can smile however she wants, but she does have some pretty teeth too. (mine are short little kid teeth so I always admire a nice set of teeth!) lol


Two things: I am so glad I am not alone in lack of patience for group shots. I vowed next time I attempted a group shot of my family, I would be carrying along a flask of something to help me through it.

Second: You look fab. It's always nice to get a glimpse of you once in awhile.


jennifer Compton

You seriously ROCK! I love reading your stories. They make me feel like I'm there with your family. I talk outloud when I read your blog. "Oh, NO! Annie got pecked by a goose!" "OMG, Courtney Lee is sooo cute." "That pumpkin is perfect!" "Ross reminds me of my brother." "Coley is my kind of boy, decisive!" Well, you get the picture.


How fun! I checked out the prior years you posted and those were great too! Fun to see how much older your kids look each year. We plan to go to the Pumpkin patch next week, so I'm looking forward to taking my camera and if I don't get some perfect pics it's okay :) but I will at least try by taking a ton of pics!


If my photos of "events" looked half as good as yours, I'd be one happy woman! I really have to work on my photography skills more.

tara pollard pakosta

these photos are amazing!
are you kidding me here?! THEY are awesome!!!
and Cali, you are gorgeous whether you have your big smile or your mouth closed!!!
seriously, you couldn't be any prettier or have a more fun personality!


you are my favorite. so there.


I happen to like this year's pictures. I'm going to have to come up with something good to bribe my family with to get them to even go to the pumpkin patch as a family.


Your pics are awesome! I loved them all, but especially the ones of the girls painting their pumpkins. My 2 yr old son is doing a lot of things lately that remind me of some of the things I've read about Annie doing. Yesterday I took him for a drive to help him take a nap. When I buckled him in, he said, "I don't want to go bye-bye! That makes me cry! Don't make me cry!" in the most whiny voice he could use. Love reading about your family. I guess it's so interesting because you keep it real and tell it like it is. It's easy to relate to kids not always getting along well with each other.

Melanie C.

I love these pictures, I think you did a great job. Cali looks pretty with both smiles!


Oh my goodness!! I just looked back over the 3 previous years posts! What a wonderful treat! I started following your blog when Annie was about 2, and I hadn't seen previous pictures. Your kids are all the most adorable kids ever!! I love that you coordinate everyone's outfits. I do that to my kids too. I don't spend a lot of time on it, but when I shop, I try to buy outfits that will look good together for both of them (like if I'm buying t-shirts, I get them each shirts that go together but I never get them the same shirt - I usually don't care for the look of having my kids dressed exactly alike) and when we go to the park or other places, I try to make their outfits not clash in case I get some photos I want to scrapbook later. It's easier for me, I guess, since I only have 2 and they are both boys. It really does do a lot for the photos if the colors work together, but I think my husband sometimes thinks I'm crazy.

Jill E.

I love the shots! On our pumpkin patch day it started raining (sideways) five minutes after we got there! Made for some great shots- not! I love Cali's smile- and hope that someday my Sam has a super sweet girlfriend like her that will come to the pumpkin patch with us and be super sweet to the little kids in the family! (he's four, so he has some time!) Oh, and the goat slime thing totally killed me!

Tammy Mellish

The smiling pony totally cracks me up.. and well, I just love Cali's beautiful smile (she's an all around adorable sweetie pie and I sure didn't mean to stir up any sensitivity!). Your trip to the pumpkin patch totally sounds like one of our big family adventures. I have a love/hate adventure with each and every one of them!

meg duerksen

karen you are so hard on know we love all your pictures. there is no need to apologize or point out what you think in not that great.
99% of people will think everyone of your pics is fabulous.
you are so good.
you can't be perfect all the time.
if you find out a way that you can...please let me know.

Louise Murr

That pony smiling is halarious...I loved looking back at the previous years. It is amazing how your kids are growing up right before our eyes. They are all such beautiful kids. Love how you write, errors and all, it is so enjoyable. You have a such a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing. stuff.



I love ALL of your pictures - the pouty, whiny, crying ones included! LOL Poor little Annie getting pecked by a goose though! Thanks for sharing - perfect as always, Karen! :o)

Melissa Mann

beautiful pictures!

Teresa Loop


Okay, first: Courtney is totally photogenic.
Second, I got bit by a goose/duck animal when I was 3ish, and STILL remember it...
Third, the pic of Ross 'smooching' Cali mde me laugh out loud! Dang she is cute!
Forth, I agree with the other posts, I feel as if I were there with your family, love that!

sorry you stepped in poop.....


I looked back at the past years pictures and I actually think that this years pictures were the best. They tell more of a story and capture some pretty fantastic moments.

Oh, and I liked the use of prophetic. :-)

PS. Long time reader... but I don't comment nearly as much as I should/want. Love, Love, love your photos. They inspire me so much. #704 on the waiting list.. yay!


lmao. You are so funny, Nellie. Are you getting skinny on us? Looks like it!!! :)


Note to Cali: Don't try to please the are gorgeous any way you want to smile!

Note to Ross: smile for the bloggers



Karen, your pictures are awesome!! I was LOL at the end of your post, reading your comments about the trip to the patch. Thanks for sharing...the trip sounded like a lot of fun!

Tammee Donaldson

Love the "goat drool" trick. That's funny!


You are definitely too hard on yourself!!! These pictures are great and I absolutely love Cali's "toothy" smile. BTW - her Senior pictures were absolutely fabulous. She is a beautiful girl. Can't wait to see Ross's Senior pictures. Oh and Annie ... she is "PRICELESS". Love your stories about her and love the pictures you share of her.


Just wanted to pipe in that Cali is beautiful just the way she is ... closed smile or not! Looking back, she'll appreciate that her senior pics capture the way she is, not how your blog readers wish she'd be. ;) Keep smiling, Cali!!

Kristal Jones

Your pumpkin patch pictures are fantastic. You make shooting in harsh sun look so easy. Love your pics AND your story-telling abilities.


I love reading your blog, always makes my day.
Had a bit of catch up today.
Seriously, I loved the the goat-drool prank!!!

Jordan 4

Morality may consist solely in the courage of making a choice. (Leon Nlum, French statesman)

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