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August 2018

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Sherry G

Love the ones of Annie & the pup on the beach. The light is amazing!

Michelle Adams

Ditto - LOVE that one with the hug!!!!!! :)


wow 10 hrs is a huge drive for a very impromptu trip to the beach - I just cant imagine having my kids in the car for 10 hrs ..shudder... So lovely to see Annie's love for her dog gorgeous they seem to love each other xx


Oh I'm sad to see it end! Thanks for sharing all the pics! I've been a total blog slacker for the last few months and you make me want to go upload a bunch of pics! Hope you guys are all doing well with Josh away! Oh, and the other night I had a dream that my name was on your blog as a winner of something...but it was my maiden name! Weird I know!:)

Stacey H

The stress of Josh getting ready to leave must have been very hard on you both. Those last few days are heaven and hell all at the same time. So glad to have time together, so sad to be saying bye for such a long time.

Forgive yourself...I'm sure Josh already has. Your amazing to me for such honesty that you would share that with the world!!! Josh is a lucky guy to have someone like you to come home to!

Hugs and prayers for your family!
Much Love!

P.S. Have I mentioned that I really appreciate Josh serving and what you and your family have to go thru while he is gone.

ellen patton

Hot chocolate in the summer?!? That's funny. :) You seem to have such a nice family.

Debbi G.

What amazing pictures! When I grow up, I want to use my camera like you.

I appreciate what your family is going through for our are special people.


I'm sure everyone tells you, but I love you and your family! You do such a great job raising those kiddos.


Love the one of Shindand hugging Annie on the beach! And Josh's tongue sticking out while he plays pingpong.


I've been following your blog for awhile now, and I feel blessed that you choose to share your life with all of us. I appreciate your honesty, and Josh Downs' departure makes me both incredibly thankful for his sacrifice but sad for you and the family (it's making me tear up as I write this). My friend's son is a marine and recently came back from serving in Afghanistan, and everyday it was a rollercoaster of emotions for her. It gives me a glimpse of what you must be facing each day. I will be praying for his safety and that you will find strength & comfort in the time that he's serving. God be with you, Josh Downs and the family. You guys are beautiful.


Courtney-Lee really suits her hair the way it done in the hot chocolate photos! xx

Ingrid from the Netherlands

Oh Karen, it breaks my heart every time you speak to Josh in the last line. I can sense how much you miss him and how worried you are. Here in the Netherlands we also have soldiers and policemen going to Afghanistan, but never have I realised what an impact it must have on their familymembers. Now I do. I am following your blog for the last 4 years and your family has become very dear to me. I will light a little candle for Josh, you and your family (a Catholic habbit which gives me always consolation) to give all of you strength during these times.

Big hug from me to you.
Love, Ingrid.

Martha - EP

I came to leave a message and reading every ones comments, I'm in tears! Ditto to every comment above!

Karen, you're an amazing person with a huge talent to capture your life for you and your family. I can't even begin to imagine the thoughts going thru your head those last few days with Josh. Rest assured that during those 10 hours, he knew you loved him and it would pass. Just be thankful for all the good times you have and the love you both have been blessed with. I'm sure he has been missing you and the kids more than any of us can imagine.

God bless!

ps..your photos at the beach....TO DIE FOR. How do capture that light and keep good color with the kids/dogs/clothing? You should do a how to class on taking pictures at the beach! ;-)

Elizabeth C.

I remember before my husband was deployed last year that it was easy to get cranky with all of the emotion in the air. It's the exact opposite of what you want to do in those last few days and weeks, but it's hard not to. Don't be too hard on yourself. Josh Downs knows that you love him and miss him dearly. These first few weeks apart are the hardest. As you and the kids get adjusted into a new routine and Josh gets settled there, time will start to pass a little faster. Before you know it, months will have gone by. I know it doesn't seem like it now, but trust me. Sending positive thoughts your way and prayers of safety for Josh.

jennifer Camplin

I {heart} your snapshots of vacation especially with new pup.. in love..

Hugs with your family......

Agree with above comments.. all love are in your family..

Bonnie C.

Love that pic of Annie & the new pup hugging! My daughter is just as close with our dog. If I had a shot like that I would surely frame it for her room. Beautiful! Have been following your blog for years and always enjoy your pictures.

teresa b

Love love love the beach photos.. i thought..oh yannie on the beach with the favorite.. then i saw cole and josh on the beach with the puppies running by..oh my favorite.. then yannie and coley in the sand..awh i give up.. awesome photos karen russell ..and you got me again with you last line...tears sniff sniff

Judy Webb

To me, best photo is one of Courtney Lee with hot chocolate. I'm afraid I am not shooting enough these days to raise my quality. The dog and especially the cat, gets tired of my following them around with camera. LOL Loving you and your family and special prayers for Josh Downs.

 ♥ Debbie

It's been so delightful viewing your family time at the beach!! Love the shot of Shindad & Annie hugging on the beach! Thanks for sharing so much with us! And thanks to Josh Downs for serving & protecting us all!!

Julie in Aust.

I have a feeling that this holiday at the beach is going to produce some of the most amazing memories for those kids. You and Josh have done well Karen...and you have done an exceptional job capturing those memories on film for them all. When I look at these photos, I can hear the surf, the beach breeze, the gulls, the laughter and chatter, the occasional girly giggle and puppy barking...all those muffled noises that our cameras dont pick up but are there in the background of the memories.
Very inspirational Karen...will go back and have another look at the few beach photos in my family's collection.
Thinking of you all...


Annie + her dog = pure joy!! Looks like a wonderful vacation...thank you for sharing!


Okay...if there's one thing I notice in all your food pics, your kids eat so healthy! lol.

Dawn Morgan

Oh my gosh! I LOVE that picture of Annie with the dogs arms around her bum. So, so cute! Great photos. Thanks for sharing!

Rachel Z

I LOVE the beach photos! The first thing I thought was how unique they were. Did you keep the shutter speed low to allow in more light? I loved how the beach and water were almost non-existent, yet you could tell they were still at the beach. Looks sort of "celestial". :) I think I'm going to have to experiment!

As always, thank you to Josh and your family for your committment to our country and for securing our freedoms.... God bless.

Jenni N.

Hi Karen,
I have been following your blog for a couple of years now. You have the sweetest family:) I know you miss Josh so much, I will be praying for his safe return.

Ann S

Just wanted to say "hi" and that I'm keeping you all in my prayers. I can't imagine enduring the separation your family is having to, but want to add my sincere thanks to Josh, his fellow soldiers and all family members for the sacrifices they must make for our sakes. I pray the time apart will fly by and he'll be home safely soon.

Thanks for sharing these photos. My absolute new favorite is the one of Annie holding & adoring her new puppy in her lap. Hope you are all doing well.

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