kate’s half birthday

We don’t celebrate half birthday’s in our family except for Bailey and I guess someday Grayson… but then it’s just cupcakes at school since they have summer birthdays. And you know, having cupcakes on your birthday at school is a REALLY big deal!

But a couple of weeks ago we went to the zoo with our best friends to help celebrate Kate’s half birthday! Angie was great at making it a special day for Kate and of course my kids are all about doing anything with the MacBryde’s so we were in! We started with donuts at a tiny hole in the wall donut shop in the city…

Once they were covered in chocolate we headed to the zoo!

We were only there a little while as I had two sessions later that day but the kids had a blast! Besides the INSANE heat we had a blast too! Just some photos from one of the kid’s favorite places at the zoo…

Kelsey wasn’t so sure!

Angie’s face totally cracks me up behind Gray! HA!

HA! That’s better!

Bailey and Kate are just the best of friends! I’m so glad I’m here to document their friendship as I’m sure they’ll be friends for life!

This is my favorite! Chris and Parker talking about something and C being a good husband and holding my wallet so I can take photos!

Kelsey… still unsure! :)

I am framing this one somewhere in our house! Angie loves my kids as much as we do and vice versa! Having friends like this in our life is the biggest blessing we could ever have asked for!

Thanks for letting us celebrate Kate turning 5.5! We love you guys!

this month. two years ago.

I recently started going through old files on my computer b/c I’m using a new online back-up service for our family photos. I’m also starting to create our 2008 and 2009 family albums as well so I have spent some random late night hours sorting through old family photos… laughing at lots, crying at some and loving every single one of them! Mostly they suck photography-wise but it doesn’t bother me in the least. I had a crappy camera back then, i had crappier lenses and was still learning a lot. I also never think of my family as clients so usually I just snap and don’t worry about focus or composition like I normally do and I certainly don’t edit them like I do client images… but that’s ok! They are just snapshots of our life and I THANK GOD I took my camera out as much as I did because looking back I caught our life. The big and small moments. All of it. And I will continue to do so until the day I can’t hold a camera in my hands anymore!

So here’s a look back at June 2008!

Oh the early summer of 2008. Grayson was born. Parker was one and Bailey was two. We had three kids in diapers. Potty training started. Chris was home a lot. We spent hours and hours on our back screened-in porch playing with the water table and frozen cups of toys. We painted a lot. Spent lots of time in diapers. Grayson nursed 23 hours a day (or so it felt). We cuddled in our big bed reading books and watching movies. We were overwhelmed. Money was tight. My business was growing. And I showed my stretch marks to the world!

At the time it felt busy. And full. And it was. But it was also slow and simple. Sweet. I was more present, because I had to be. All three kids needed me more. Which was hard, but I can already see how I will miss that as they continue to grow. I’ve always tried my best to stop and enjoy our life, and I think I did.

This was a beautiful time. So so beautiful.

just another post about why i love blogging so much!

Remember THIS post?

I’ve gotten a lot of emails about it, which is awesome, but the one I got last night had me in tears (my mom+dad too when i read it to them!)…


Hi Jodie!

I’ve been reading your blog since the Jodified days, and just wanted to tell you thank you for sharing so much of yourself. Your pictures are absolutely FANTASTIC, but you’re personality way outshines the photographs you take. Most bloggers tend to share only the happy stories about how they just made cookies with their kids or sharing pictures of their latest fun outing. You were one of the first blogs I read who actually got REAL and reassured me that being a mom is definitely hard sometimes. And being a young mom of 2, this has been so helpful.

But anyways, just wanted to pass along a story that happened to me yesterday. I was trying to make it to our local farmer’s market that closed in 10 minutes, when I saw an SUV in a turning lane with a guy standing behind it. “Oh that’s a bummer,” I thought. It looked like his car had broke down. “Gee, I’d pull over and help, except what’s a 5’4” 140 lb girl in flip flops going to be able to do? Besides, I’ve got my little guy in the back seat and I’m running late. I’m sure he’s got it handled.”

That’s when your blog post last week popped into my head and I knew I couldn’t NOT at least try to help. I quickly pulled into a parking lot, left my van running with my little guy inside and ran out into the busy intersection to help. Long story short, I became the “driver” to steer the vehicle uphill into a parking lot. I helped the guy out and went on my way.

So just wanted to thank you for passing along your awesomeness! Aren’t blogs amazing???

Have a wonderful weekend :)

Liz Monroe,
Waterloo, Iowa


So awesome. Thank you so much for sending this to me Liz! It really meant the world.


To read another awesome “blogging rocks” post go HERE!

DIY: A 5th Birthday Party

So Bailey is turning FIVE in a couple of weeks and all we talk about around here is her PARTY! I wasn’t planning on doing anything spectacular because we are tightening our budget straps pretty tight right now but for the first time she REALLY wants a PARTY so I decided to go all out. On a budget.

Which means I am making everything myself.

And I say it like that and not like, “Dude! I get to make everything myself for her party! YIPPE!!!” because who has time to hand make an entire party? Not me!

BUT we are having fun with it and luckily she gave me a super simple party request… “Mommy, i want a RED party!”

Perfect. I can work a color-based party!

So for the next week or two I will be blogging about every little detail I’m creating to take her theme to a rockin’ level! But today let’s start with the invites!

We are inviting immediate family (grandparents, uncles/aunts, great grandparents) and six friends. So we needed about 10 invites. And once I came up with the design, we decided it would be fun to hand-deliver them as well (what’s a lot of driving to add to the mix? HA!), which helped since my design is a bit 3-D.

To start we went to good ole Hobby Lobby and bought whatever cute red papers they had. I also splurged and bought a butterfly paper punch (I added butterflies as the secondary theme b/c just “red” was too hard), a butterfly stamp and some ink.

Then I gave the kids the stamp+ink and asked them to stamp the hell out of the solid red paper. When they were done I finished the front…

Simple. It’s red, with our secondary theme letting people know how old she will be (5 butterflies) and each person we’re inviting will have their name handwritten on the bottom stripe of gingham paper… I like that personal touch!

I decided it added something to have the butterflies raised off the paper so all I did was fold the wings and glue just the body. That piece will also tie in to one of the main party decorations.

Then I just created a simple invite on the computer, printed it at home, cut it out, backed it with black paper and glued it to the side the girls had stamped…

I used some overlays in Photoshop bought HERE! One of my all-time favorite artists! Check out her prints too, we have several in our home!

I love the stamped edges and the girls were SO proud!

Delivery started today!

If you hate DIY crap then don’t read this blog until after July 11th! :)

C’s Father’s Day!

Oh MAN did we pack a lot of awesomeness into yesterday!

We started out the morning EARLY and I let Chris sleep a tiny bit extra while I got up with the natives. Then we rushed around and were out the door by 7:45am to head to Indian Hills Lake in Cuba, MO where C’s Grandpa has a lake house. His parents, grandparents, Aunt Peggy and brother Jack all came down… it really was a great great day! SO neat to spend Father’s Day with 3 generations of Allen dads!

Chris used to teach water skiing so it was fun to finally see him ski! The best part? His back hurt! Being almost 31 is rough! HA!

The best part for the girls? Dock jumping! (We left Grayson at home with a sitter for the day)

Uncle Jack taught the girls how to fish and by the lunch time Bailey could cast all by herself! Parker cast her rod straight into the water a few times so Uncle Jack had to keep fishing it out! HA!

Gotta love the FAKE almost-five year old smile! Can’t wait until she grows out of this smile stage!

C’s Grandpa Allen!

I have about 100 photos from the lake but I won’t bore you with ALL of them! Just know we had an awesome day!

Then we had to get home for our softball game! HA! We dropped off the girls, changed clothes and headed to Black Burn Park.

Settle down ladies… he’s ALL mine! Doesn’t he look studly? HA! Our coach calls him “poetry in motion” b/c he’s so good! Love how he’s biting his lip in this photo!


I love Margaret! Could she be any cuter? She smiled when C said, “no pressure to preform with that camera in your face!”

Just had to include this shot of my friend Tara! She’s got the BEST smile+laugh!

More softball photos too! I might do another post about softball! And I will definitely be bringing my camera more often to our games!

By 8pm we were home and exhausted! I ran out to use the last of our Dewey’s gift cards for our dinner and we ate then crashed! We LOVE our Daddy and our little corner of the world wouldn’t function without him!

Thanks for being the most amazing dad Chris… everyday you teach me more and more about loving our life!

this morning.

I woke up this morning at 2:41am. To be exact. And I saw up in bed. Which is completely unlike me b/c normally I hit the pillow late and don’t move until Chris or a kid starts poking me between 6-7am. But this morning I just woke up.

So I checked the monitor to make sure it wasn’t Gray, and then I tucked Bailey back in b/c she always kicks off her covers and then huddles in a chilly little ball. Then I stood there for a second and got back in bed where Parker was snuggled between C and I having had a bad dream early in the night. I put my hand on her head just to make sure my Mommy instincts weren’t in full force because of her.

But all was fine.

And yet I couldn’t sleep.

So I started thinking about the business but nothing was bothering me about that. I checked email on my phone and all was quiet. I laid there and my mind couldn’t find anything that was out of place.

For an hour I tossed and turned.

So unlike me.

And then my mind finally settled. And my heart hurt when it finally landed on a concrete reason to worry, because it felt like I was worrying but I couldn’t figure out what I was worried about.

The image my mind softly landed on was Parker’s face during her first seizure at home. Her little mouth open and drooling. Her eyes rolled back in her head. Her muscles straining with each lunge of her body.

And I just stood there, above her, taking it in.

I didn’t grab her up or cuddle her or even attempt to touch her.

I watched her body move out of it’s own control and was just an observer.

It’s something I can’t do again, no do-overs here. Obviously a situation I never want to be in again. But I’m not sure I will ever forgive myself for being so removed from her.

As a mom you’re in the trenches with your kids. From day one you get pooped and peed on. Your shirt always has spit-up dried on it somewhere. Your hair is pulled, your fingers are chew toys and bugger pickers and drool wipers. When your kids are sick you hold them. When they can’t sleep you rock them. You are there with them giving your body, heart and soul to them.

And so I can’t figure out why my mommy instinct wasn’t to touch her.

And it kinda breaks my heart I left her alone during that moment in her life.

Not that she’ll ever remember.

But I will.

And apparently it will haunt me. Her little face, so wild and out of control. Burned in my memory.


Chris has had two solid days of workshops for Webster… yesterday he was gone for 13 hours and today about 9. And let’s just say that I had my FILL of whining crabby kids yesterday so this morning I knew I needed a PLAN!

I googled “berry picking, St. Louis” and found THIS site. Within 15 minutes of finding it we were dressed and on our way!

It was a 40 minute drive (both ways!)  and we only picked for about 30 minutes but it was worth it to see how excited Bailey was! Gray didn’t get it and/or had no interest and Parker just didn’t like all the bugs but Bailey LOVED it! I think this will be our last summer of always wishing we had a sitter for Grayson while we’re out having our adventures… he’s still always just a little bit too little. And let’s just mention that at 8am it was already 90 degrees! So it was HOT out there in the blazing sun!

But we made it out with 4 containers of raspberries and all for under $10! I wish we hadn’t of missed strawberry season because I would call this a very successful, whine-free, adventure! We will definitely be looking for other farms to visit this summer!

We got home, rinsed them and I gave each kid a bowl of berries and a bowl of whipped cream for dipping! The perfect late morning snack!

there she sat. crying.

In the middle of a huge intersection. The first in line on Lindbergh at Big Bend. Cars honking. Fingers flying. Anger blaring. And I drove past her too, frustrated that my errands were being slowed down as my kids whined in the back. So I passed her in her little silver bug, but as I did, I turned to look at her face as she wiped a tear and tried to look strong.

So even though I was on my way to the last errand of the afternoon with a screaming toddler and a cranky preschooler I turned around and went back. I parked my car, left the kids and walked boldly into the middle of chaos to help. I asked her if she thought we could push it by ourselves. Her gratitude was radiating as she said she thought we could.

But then she released her brake and my flip flops were sliding and the car started rolling downhill and I couldn’t do it by myself. I yelled for her to stop. Defeated, I stood there as a one-armed man (I could seriously not make this up) stopped his truck and came to help. He and I pushing with all our might when out of nowhere another man, a stronger man, took up our slack and we were able to move her car into a parking lot.

I’m telling you this because I thought of you.

My family. Our friends. This blogworld.

I thought of you and the kindness we can never repay and I turned around. And I helped an embarrassed and scared girl. No more than 23. Even though I was in a hurry and even though my kids were screaming in the car and even though I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

But I thought of you and I just tried. And because I tried a one-armed man knew he could try too. And then the guy who had been standing in the window of the store with 3 other strong men just watching and not helping decided he could try too. And together we did it. We helped.

I sent out a handful of thank you cards and have about 60 left to go. I may finish them one day or I may just give the carefully designed cards to the kids to color on. And whether you got two cards because I forgot I’d sent one and instead sent two or whether you never get one at all, please know, please know that I will never forget.

And whenever there is something I can do for someone else I will. Because of what you all did for us last month.

Thank you.

Art&Air 2010. The Video.

My sister’s family was in town this year for Art&Air, a local art show in Webster Groves, MO. My dad has always played an integral part in the weekend so our family has supported it as best we can each year… one of the summer activities we look forward to each year!

This year they had Babaloo come! One of our FAVORITE artists! The kids are obsessed with his CDs and we know+love his family (not his immediate family and he, himself, has no idea who we are, but his family owns a local car repair shop we’ve gone to my entire life).

Anyway, I had my camera that day and although videos take longer to put together than editing a few photos, sometimes I think an event really warrants a video over stills… and this certainly was one of those times! So after I took a few shots I quickly ditched the stills and went to video…