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Adorable Zavier's family

This family was a referral from a friend - I am so glad they made their way to the LL&L's new studio.  They came out from the city and made the drive with little Zavier for his 1st year portraits and for a few outdoor family pictures as well.  This was my first session outside for 2013 - it was a perfect day for pictures!

Here is the beautiful Nardi family!


Thank you Nardi family for making the trip :) 



Decker, 6 months - oh the places you will go!

I live in the approximate area that I grew up in.  I am often given the opportunity to take pictures of the families and children of people that I was in grade school, junior high, and / or high school with.  I love meeting new clients - I equally love being able to see where people have gone with their lives after high school.  

 Kristina, the Mama, was a year older than me in High School.   It is great to see where life has taken her beyond the high school walls and see her in very different roles, wife, mother, career women, etc.  The adorable little boy, and family below is the purpose of photography that I love.  Not only did I get to take Decker's new born pictures, now I got to take his 6 month pictures as well. Oh Decker, the places you will go!

Both times I got a few family picutures - I love to see how they grow as a family.  I told Kristina, I can't decide who her boys look more like, her or her husband.  They have a beautiful family.   I look forward to seeing them again in another 6 months! 

Here is Decker, and the Kuntz family. 


Here is Decker as a little peanut:




Cake Smash - they never get old!

Here is Vincent and his handsome little self!  Here is his Birthday Session - including the cake smash!




Seriously, this is how he stood to eat the cake.  I was laughing so hard I could barely stand up!

Too cute, right!?!!  :) 



oh my, Miles! 1 year already!!

Here is little Miles.  I know, he is stunning.  What a handsome little guy.  And, very cooperative too.  :) 

I took their family pictures over the summer.  You can see there album here,  Adorable family! 

He threw-up after the first bite, so we stopped the session after that : (




fashinesta in the making

First birthdays are so fun!  Especially, when it is filled with tutus, cake, with hot pink and zebra prints! Zoe couldn't be more adorable! I can't even pick a favorite! 

Here she is, hot pink and all - the little fashinesta in the making! 

Happy 1st Birthday Zoe! 



Before the cake smash....


Tomorrow I will post her V-Day Mini Session!  



sisters and friends {Happy Birthday Mal Jo}!

Mallory Jo Gudmunson Bland - better known to most of us as Mal Jo.  She is one of my dearest friends, and I am lucky enough to have her as my sister. Over the past 3 years we have become a lot closer then we were the first 24 years of our life.  

Mallory was the baby of the family for some time until the youngest two us surprised us.  Mallory and I never got a long.  I was hard on her.  As siblings do,  I was picked on by Nathan because I was younger, so naturally I took it out on her being my younger.  Eventually we learned to cover for each other, and she would let me barrow her clothes and shoes but she had her friends and I had my own life too.  Life unfolded for both of us.  She met and married before I did.  She had a home before I did.  Our lives were just in different stages.  Not one better then the other, just different. 


But, we were both pregnant at the same time and got to share in the ups and downs of that experience together.  Then, came newborns and breastfeeding and babies that became 1.  These babies stumbled and fumbled on shaky legs and learned to walk and worked so hard to say their first words.  We experienced those together.  Side by side.  Then came the terrible two's and the tantrums... and now our littles are both 3 (Maxine will be in a few months).  We share in the the many frustrations they cause but rejoice more loudly and smile pridefully at each of their accomplishments and their innocence.  Brayden and Maxine are just starting out.  I can only imagine the mischief they will get into together. Mallory went on to have another little guy, Mason.  I respect the patience it takes for her and Chris to make a marriage and family work. They find a balance in life.  It is a journey I am just beginning (again) and they have been doing it successfully - through the trials and celebrations - they do it.  I really admire both of them.

Mallory is the fashionista of the family - and a culinary artist.  I am neither of those.  Luckily, I have her to dress me and I frequent their house for her home cooking!  She is a beautiful and kind young lady - who also is a wonderful mother, wife, aunt, daughter, and sister.  

I am so glad we found friendship through being sisters and mothers.  I honestly don't know what I would do without you.  Thank you for all of your support :) We Love you! Happy Birthday! 



God's Blessings

Saturday was Kim's Birthday.

Image credit: Chris Bland

Kim is my Sister-in-Law, she is married to my brother Nate.  I must admit, when they married each other, we would be hard pressed to find a better couple.  Nathan is wonderful and funny and kind and sincere.  He loves to cook and laugh.  However, he is not known for his organizational skills.  And, he often can get ahead of himself when taking on tasks.  He likes to do everything.  Kim puts the organization into Nathan's life.  They have 4 children - 6 very busy schedules.  Kim always has a smile on her face and she is great about homemade gifts and cards for every birthday and holiday - even baskets on May Day.  She has the kids homemade art displayed all over the house and she has 4 very happy, busy kids.  Their family is a well run machine.  Nathan and Kim have a lot on their plate.  But, they operate very smoothly.  That isn't to say it is always easy, but they make it look like it is.  

One of the traits I admire most about Kim is her knowledge and work for advocacy.  Drew has special needs - so she has self taught her way through the special needs world.  Not only for Drew, but for her all of her kids.  In every facet of life, in her own and for her kids, she is certain to be the voice.  She doesn't back down.  And most importantly she asks questions.  This may not seem like much.  But, it is.  Kim asks the right questions.  She expects answers and rationale. She goes prepared and she stands her ground.  She is always kind, but she means business.  I don't know if she was like this prior to being a parent - but, I assume it was always in her.  I admire her strength and determination. 

God blesses our lives each differently.  He gave Drew to Kim, and her to Drew.  He gave Nathan; Kim, McKenna, and Drew and continued the blessings with Benson and Cole.  They have a beautiful, happy little family. 

Image Credit: Chris Bland

For all you are and all you do - for your family and all of ours, Thank you!

Happy Birthday Kim! 




a week late, better than never, right?

I did not forget.  But, I did fall behind on my Birthday Blog post for my dear brother-in-law, Chris. He is no stranger to Life, Love & Lemons.  His work has been displayed on here many times.  Last Tuesday was his birthday. 

Chris, is one of those 'Jack of all Trades' kind of guy.  He really knows how to do a lot of stuff.  And, it would be hard for me to even attempt to categorize, because he really does a lot.  The most important, of course, is husband and father.  And, I must say, he is pretty darn good at it too!  Chris is always calm.  He doesn't fluster easy, which I admire.  He seems to know a little about everything, and a lot about a lot! Chris is just a likable guy, and is always there when one of us, or anyone, is in a pinch.

He makes his family his number 1 priority.  Mallory and Chris have something very special, and they have made it last, even after being together for nearly a decade.  Mallory and Chris have been very important to me and Brayden.  We balanced crazy schedules together and helped one another out to save on daycare costs, and most importantly, having our kids be able to grow up together.  Maxine and Brayden are like brother and sister they have spent so much time together.  There are moments when they fight, but they are best friends.  Much like Mallory and Chris are to me. :) 


Happy Belated Birthday Chris! :) Thank you for all you do!! 




post party wrap-up

We had a 2 day event for Brayden's 3rd Birthday.  And, we had a blast! 

We celebrated Brayden's and his cousin Mason's birthday by going to Bounce Town - which, of course, is a great way to let the littles be absolutely nuts and run around like maniacs!  Aunt Mallory and Uncle Chris bought special dinosaur hats and masks - Brayden loved it!  It was the start to a great weekend. 

That night, B, John, and I did presents and cake.  Every single gift was dinosaur related! 

Saturday was the birthday bash!  For me, it is a big deal - I don't do party planning very well...  and, I defiantly do not cook, especially for a large group of people.  But, I have to say, there were a lot of compliments - and the house was trashed, representative of 10 kids having a lot of fun :) 

Especially, this big 3 year old! 


Unfortunately, Sunday came and I had to send Brayden off to Virginia, again.  I keep waiting for the time when it will get easier.  But, I don't think it ever will.  Today is day number 3 without him and I am still in my mopey phase.  Alittle paralyzed not knowing what to do without him around.  And, I do the typical torture - watch videos and cry - my whole heart aching.  I typically revert to laying in bed.  Dinner, in bed.  Editing, in bed.  TV, in bed.  And, that is what I did last night.  And, this morning, that is where I wanted to stay.  In a few more days this phase will pass, and I will grow excited for his return.  Cleaning, organizing, and waiting to see the truck pull up so I can kiss those perfect little lips again - the count down begins: 5 more days...



who are you? {Happy 3rd Birthday Brayden}!

"Hello Baby! Who are you?"  "Are you a monkey with clever toes?  Perhaps your a porcupine, twitching its nose" 

Hello Baby, a book by Mim Fox, I received as a gift from a former co-worker after Brayden was born.  It's an adorable book, Brayden and I still read it on a weekly basis - we both have it memorized.  We have lots of favorite books - and reading before bedtime is one of our oldest, and most favorite traditions.  I have been reading to him since he was just a little guy.  I would be feeding him and rocking him to sleep - while reading some of my favorites.  These favorites were children books really written to make moms cry.  A few that come to mind are, "Hold you a little longer" and "Mommies Best Kisses".  I can barely get through the first page without tears streaming.  

These beautifully written books make me think constantly about the little man that is growing up right in front of my eyes.  They help me to acknowledge - and try to force me to accept - he will not stay this little.  There will inevitably come a day when he will no longer snuggle with me and let me read stories to him.  Or let me play with him in the tub, or need me to kiss away the boo-boos.  Someday, I will be the embarrassing Mom that he doesn't want to be around.  And, I will wait until that phase turns and he will come back to trust me as a parent and a friend.  For now, Every night I will relish in our simplest and purest tradition - bath time.  snuggle time.  reading time.  our time

Here we are.  Three years in the making.  

Who are you, Brayden?

You come from 2 parents with very strong personalities.  We are both very proud of who we are, where we come from, and the little man we are raising.  Through everything, We love you.  

You were born on November 16th, 2009 at 7:21 pm at Northside Atlanta Hospital after 12 hours of labor - all 8 pounds and 10 ounces of you!  You had big dark eyes, dark hair, big hands and feet - my lips, your dad's ears. It was the most incredible moment in my life.  I can still picture it as if it were yesterday.  I will forever live with joy of that day.    From that moment on, I was a new person, better - just because I was your mom.  My life's meaning changed.  

From that day, you have been developing your own self.  You have traits from both your dad and I, gentle and kind - and, a little stubborn too.   You are loving.  You are smart.  You are handsome.  Your eyes and smile make me melt, daily. You never stop running.  You love, love, love dinosaurs.  You love sweets and would pass up a burger any day for a cookie (just like your mom).  You love bath time, still - but, I have to beg to let me wash your hair.  You love your family - all of them - with your whole heart, even though you are still working on how to share toys with your cousins.  You have a strong presence where ever you go.  You draw people to you like a magnet.  Somedays, when you and I aren't seeing eye to eye - a strangers adoring gaze or kind comment about 'it goes too fast - love them little while you can' often helps me to step back and in fact, love you while you are little.  I forget sometimes that you are still learning.  Still growing.  Still feeling out your boundaries.  And, more lately - you have decided you enjoy pushing those boundaries - just to see how far you can get.  I would say you are just a typical 3 year old - but, I also know you may have inherited those traits too...  from which parent is actually hard to tell! 

So Brayden, Here you are, on your 3rd Birthday.   We have come along way in this short time.  We have traveled many roads together, and there will be many more to come.  Just know that no matter what, my hand, shoulder, ear, heart (and pocket book) is always here for what ever you may need.

I will love you.

I know through the years you will learn many life lessons.  Some you will learn from those that love you most.  You will follow our examples.  And others, you will learn by doing - and, in the doing - things may not always come out as you envisioned in your mind.  But, you will learn, much like I have, through living.  

Always, always, always, reach higher and further then you can ever see.  You can do anything.  And if someone says you can't, work even harder, stronger, longer.  Preserverance goes a long way.  Be happy and light hearted.  Life doesn't need to be so serious.  Play - no matter how old you are, make time for fun.  Stay focused.  Work hard and love harder.  Life pays off as long as you life it.

Be honest and faithful in all relationships, including the one with God. Give gratitude everyday, for everyday is a blessing.  

You are my blessing - and everyday, especially on your birthday, I give thanks for you. 

To our Little Man, Little Buddy, Little Hawk, Little Mister, Snickerdoodle, Snugglebug, Bubba, NeNe...

Brayden Scott Hawkins - Happy 3rd Birthday! We all love you!








Irish Twins? {Happy Birthday Mason}!

Irish Twins are siblings born within 12 months of each other...  so, Mason and Brayden don't exactly fit this definition, BUT, they were born on the same day - 2 years apart.  So, tomorrow is Mason Lee Blands 1st Birthday, and Brayden's 3rd.  

Mason was also one of the first 'clients' I had.  When I started this little venture of mine, I stalked people to do pictures, usually for free.  That meant that my family was 'obligated' to let me do their pictures!  And Mason, was my first newborn.  It was educational - and a great experience! I learned a lot with my first little client.  I, unfortunately, have lost his cute little face to his Dad's photo expertise (B-land Design) - but, I get to snag a family picture now and then.  



Mason is growing up so fast!  One day he was this chunky little guy that could barely sit-up - and now he is on the go, walking every where! He is insanely adorable - of course, that is to be expected coming from cute parents!  He has joined his beautiful, sweet and sincere older sister Maxine.  It will be fun to watch their sibling relationship develop and change phases from enemies to partners in mischief! 

Here is his cute little face - and his cute little family!  

We Love you Mason!  Happy 1st Birthday!



Happy Birthday Cole {a.k.a Little Nate}

I am so blessed to come from a large family.  Growing up was never a dull moment - and I always had someone to play with.  Now that we are grown, we have kids of our own.  And, although Brayden is an only child - he has more than enough cousins to keep him entertained.  For many years, it seemed as though there was always someone that was having a new baby, a new member to join our family.  

Five years ago, that new member was Cole.  He is named after his maternal grandmothers maiden name - I love that.  Two families merged, Cole Gudmunson. 

Cole is just like his Dad.  And on most days, you can bet that where ever Nathan is, Cole is only a few steps behind, in his cowboy boots (no matter the time of year), hands in his pockets, and a smile on his face.  He loves being outside and working with the animals and helping farm.  He takes initiative to already do things on his own - he is a helping hand to his Dad and Grandpa's. 



I see Nathan in Cole - by the smirk on face and in his determination to do things a certain way.  It takes me back to my own childhood - Nathan working outside, usually just a few steps back from our Dad.  Until he determined he could do things on his own - and, he did.  He knew how to drive a loader before his feet could barely reach the pedals.  I know Cole is not far from that.

Those are some of my favorite parts of my life - watching my siblings grow as parents - and watching their children grow into the same person my siblings were as kids.  

Colie - you make us all smile and laugh.  We love watching you grow into the adorable little man that you already are, and into the hardworking, prideful man (just like your Dad) that you will someday be. 

We all love you! Happy 5th Birthday! :) 



Birthday of a Champion {belated birthday post}

This post is a few days late.  The past couple months have been so busy it is hard to get my personal blogs up. 

Picture taken by Aunt JenSo, to Drew - I am sorry your post is over due.  But, I want to take the opportunity to say Happy Birthday, to You! (that is as good as my rhyming gets)

Drew is my nephew.  He came into our lives as just a little guy, who at a very young age had already overcome many obstacles.   I remember celebrating his first birthday.  I have a picture of the two of us.  It is from back in the day when pictures weren't really digital.  They were printed and filed for later viewing...  if you can find them.  Well, I would love to have had that picture to put on here, but I can't find it.  I can still see it in my head.  Drew is in a cute red sweater, and I am in blue.  I am tickling him to try to get him to smile for the camera.  And, it worked. All these years later - that smile hasn't changed.  It is big and beautiful.  He has that same sparkle of wonderment and curiosity in his eye.  Drew is lovable.  And for those that meet him, love him.  

picture taken by Aunt Jen - Riding his horse at Blazing saddlesBirthdays mark a milestone for everyone.  To each person, it holds different significance.  For Drew, it is just another day, like most kids.  On his birthday he gets the cake, presents, and people to celebrate with. Drew doesn't realize the challenges he has overcome because it is just how his life has been.   But, for those that have conquered the years past with him, his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and advocates - Drew's Birthday is special.  It represents many, many victories.  It is the birthday of a champion.


Picture by his Mom - 2nd place at fair for his horse paintingNext year, we will all reminisce about the past year and how far he has come - and each year after that, we will do the same.  Drew continues to amaze us all, and will with each birthday. 


Happy Birthday Drew!
We love you and are so proud of you!


The whole family - picture by Chris Bland



Dear John {birthday tribute}

Today is the first birthday post to a non-family member.  So, it's kindof a big deal ; )  And, I am revealing my, eh hem... boyfriend.  :)  (which is an even bigger deal)! 

Here's John.  

Today is his birthday.  But, it isn't just any birthday.  It is the BIG 3-0!  John, who I have been teasing now for months about turning the thirties corner, isn't really in love with the idea of no longer being in his twenties. But, I think as the days go by, he will get use to it - and learn that it isn't much different.  And, as the days creep closer to me turning 30, he will love it more, because I won't be able to tease him about being old!

I am proud to say that I have known John for 29 years.  His parents and my parents are friends.  We laugh a lot about the intertwining roads that have lead us merging together.  We discuss the annual updates that we would receive after our mothers Saturday lunch.  And we smile that, although our lives are different than we each envisioned, we know they are unfolding just as they should be. 

To my friend of 29 years, that I am just starting to know - Happy 30th Birthday!




The Prettiest Sister {birthday tribute}

I grew up in a house full of girls.  I have 3 wonderful sisters.  We love each other fiercely.  We have each others backs, always looking out for one another.  My sisters, they are my best friends - right along with our Mom.  

With all of this love, there might be some competitive tendencies too.  A few common conversations between all of the siblings is "Mom loves me the most" or "I am Mom's favorite".  We compare recent activities, new clothes or shoes, grades in school, and children's accomplishments.  There may be the occasional discussion about , "Who is the prettiest sister?"  The adoring spouse or significant other always answers as they are supposed to, "Well, you are of course".   We each smile pridefully by their response - and give each other a wink.  Marcy never participates ;) 

Makenzie, the youngest sister, is unique.  She is the fiestest of us all.  And today is her 21st birthday. Makenzie has always had a fighters spirit - I don't blame her.  At one point, she was the youngest of 5. She appears to be quiet to those who are just getting to know her - but, once you know her - stand back!  She will tell you just what she is thinking at the drop if a dime.  Makenzie and I have a lot in common.  The most apparent is our love for music - we get it from Mom, and Mom is more than happy to have 2 daughters to go to concerts with.  Makenzie loves quotes and photography.  Most important, she loves her family.  She loves us all with pride.

With all of her self certainty, there are a few things that Makenzie hasn't learned about herself.  A few lessons that she will learn as these inevitable birthdays continue to come and pass along with the years.  

You are more beautiful than you know. Not because of the external beauty (although you are lovely on the outside too) but because of your heart.  Because you want to rescue every animal and person that is need.  Because you have a givers heart, a beautiful heart.  

You are more determined than you know.  You are so cautious, almost obsessively.  But, what you don't realize is how you fight through these discomforts.  Every obstacle that you have come across you have conquered.  Do you know that?  I want you to take confidence from that and know that there isn't anything you can't do.  

You have tremendous faith in God.  Keep it and live it.  Let go of some of your worries and know that he is in your corner, always.

I respect you and am so proud of you! I know you can do anything - you just have know within yourself that you can do it, whatever it is - make it happen! 

So, to the youngest sister, and debateable prettiest ; ) happy birthday! We all love you! 





"When you marry one sister..." {belated birthday}

Life is busy.  And, it keeps getting busier.  This is a true fact that no matter how much wishing and procrastinating - life decides to keeps us on our toes.  That is how it has felt lately.  But, I won't complain...  well, atleast too not much ; )

A sad truth, my memory is bad.  I knew when I started my birthday blog posts that inevitably, I would forget to post about someone.  My saving grace sister, Makenzie (who's birthday is in a few weeks - so, I am sure she is thinking, "don't you dare forget my birthday") sent me a sweet reminder last night, "I know you have been gone and are very busy, but don't forget to do Al's birthday blog."  *Insert a few not so good words in here*  I replied with a "thank you!"  

Al - where, oh where, do I begin?  The path that leads to the relationship that my brother-in-law and I have started a little bumpy.  I, being the protective, opinionated younger sister, who really tried to act like the big sister, often gave Al my two cents.  And Al, being who he is, gave it right back to me.  After a few tough months, and realizing that he wasn't going away - ever, I think we both realized we had to join forces or it would end badly.  So, we did.  And now, I don't think I could ever repay all of the graces Al and my sister Marcy have done for me.  From randomly giving me money while I was in college - to paying my way to Vegas to celebrate my graduation - to moving me countless times, they have always been there for me.  They have been the fighting duo that has supported me, even when I know most often they didn't agree with my decisions.  Al has a famous quote in our family "When you marry one sister, you get them all!"  And, he has stood true to that statement.  He is always there, even reluctantly, to help when we need him.  If it is with a moving truck and trailor, or just a kind word with a hug.  He is always there.  

This duo, Marcy and Al - they celebrated their 10 year anniversary just this weekend.  Has it only been 10 years?! ;) Al has always been sentimental - and, has always wrote the sweetest things for my sister.  He loves her - and will admit to anyone - that she is his life, and best friend.  He shared with me the letter he wrote her for their anniversary...  and, I may have emailed it to myself - to share with everyone.  I will just share the last line...

"...As I told you ten years ago today, I will always be here for you. No matter what it is that you need; whether it is someone to listen to you, to laugh with you, to cry with you, or just someone to grow old with you, I will always be here for you. You are my best friend and I promise I will always be yours!"

Happy belated Birthday Al!  So sorry that I forgot...  Thank you for all of your love and support through these past years.  Our entire family is blessed to have you!


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{First} of many

The first birthday is always very special.  

My nephew, Nolan, had his first birthday on Friday, July 6th.  He is such a little peanut!  Absolutely Adorable!! His little personality is starting to come out.  He is mommy's little boy and following in his sisters feisty, little footsteps.

Nolan is already experiencing many firsts, and there will be many many more over the course of the next year.  We are so blessed to have this little guy in all of our lives! 

Happy 1st Birthday Bubba! We love you!

I have been lucky enough to capture some of his pictures along the way.  He is featured in multiple categories in the gallery and on my buisness cards.  Look for 1 year Birthday pictures coming very soon!!  



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You are loved {Big Sister Birthday}

I often describe my sister Marcy as a combination of Mother Theresa and Betty Crocker.  And, for those who watched Desperate Housewives, she is Brie without all of the murders and drama.  She always has home baked goods.  Her house is always clean.  She feeds our entire family almost once a week.   I do it once a year for Brayden's birthday and after it is over I swear I will never do it again...  It is so much work.  She always makes it look so easy.  Cleaning,cooking, and always smiling. 


Today is her Birthday.  :) 

Married to her husband Al for 10 years this summer and the mother to 6 children, 3 beautiful little ones that we get to experience and enjoy life with, Malayna, Macey, and Nolan.  And, 3 little ones that are our angels, Makayla, Justin, and Jonathan - we will meet them again when our spirits leave our bodies.  God and Pa have wonderful company.  They say God never gives you more than you can handle - well,  I would say he really pushed his limits on this young couple.  But they survive and thrive - living the only way they know how, making the most of everyday - for every detail is a blessing. Marcy and Al have had a lot of struggles - but they too have more blessings than they could count! And they know it.  

An ongoing theme in my life is not always appreciating what is right in front of me.  Marcy is one of those blessings that I don't give enough credit to - not nearly as often as she deserves.  She is just like our Mom.  She gives and gives and gives.  She smiles all of the time.  She is intelligent and beautiful.  She is a wonderful Mother.  She is a great person to look up to, always has been.  She was the angel, I was not.  Marcy and I spent more hours then I could ever calculate staying up late talking, laughing, crying.  Doing what defines sisters.  As life has it, there aren't too many days when we get to do that like we use to - but she always makes time for her family and friends - and strangers.  She has the heart of a saint.  Her and Al have done more for me then I could ever list.   The message is always the same, We support you, we love you.  If they are like that for their sister - can you imagine the type of parents they are?   

Happy Birthday to my amazing sister - You are loved :)



Birthday of Love {mama and her boys}



I shop online a lot...  too much (my family thinks I have a problem).  I purchased a few items from a gentleman that lived near by.  I mentioned that I was going to paint this fabric chair I bought from him :) (Can't wait to try it....  I will let you know how it goes)!  And then, I would use it for my photography sessions.  So, a few weeks later he contacted me about doing something for his Wife's birthday.  They have a new baby and a little guy and he thought it would be special to have a photo session of just Mom and her boys.  

They turned out so lovely...  It melts my heart.  There is a special bond between a Mama and her boys; it is near and dear to my heart for sure!