Senior Photos | Meet Elena

I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with this gorgeous, creative, animal-loving girl last weekend. We shot her senior photos on her grandparents’ farm in Southeast Kansas … no one else will have photos quite like hers!


A Sea of Sunflowers

Last weekend, my husband humored me by getting up well before sunrise, waking our kids, and loading them in the car for a drive to the Kansas-famous sunflower field, Grinter Farms. I mean, what kind of Kansas photographer would I be if I didn’t insist we go there for sunrise?

Reality: While the morning light was great, the kids were not. Apparently the beauty of infinite sunflowers is lost on small children when they’re dragged out of bed and thrown into a field full of scratchy flowers and bugs. I still have to hashtag #worthit and #makingmemories, because the photos did indeed make it worth it.

On the Farm

My in-laws probably wouldn’t consider their home a farm, but compared to our suburbia, it certainly is. It’s a white-sided home with a red barn, picturesque land, and cows practically in the front yard. And a tire swing! You just feel at peace there. Here are a few of my favorite shots of my one-year-old and five-year-old playing in the yard before church during our visit last weekend.

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Sunflowers for Miles

I was so excited when this family reached out to me to take photos at Ted Grinter’s Sunflower Field near Lawrence, Kansas. I had wanted to take pictures there last year but didn’t have the opportunity. Farmer Ted plants acres and acres of sunflowers and lets the public come visit and take photos free of charge. What an amazing place!

The beautiful views, coupled with the little guy’s huge smiles and adorable dimples, made for an awesome photo shoot. I have so many favorite images from this session! This is just a handful.








Peru Vacation – Amazon Day 3

Catch up on days 1 & 2
Catch up on day 3

Day 4: Friday, May 27

Robin’s group “slept in” until 5 a.m., and when Jerod and I first woke up, we heard howler monkeys very close by. Their sounds are both mystical and kind of horror-movie-scary at the same time. We took an early morning hike back to the clay lick to look for green parrots (which are smaller than macaws). We waited very quietly for about 30-45 minutes in the blind, then saw some parrots flying around and above us. They started to land in the trees and along the backside of the clay lick, so we didn’t get a very good view of them. But it was fun just to hear their squawks and begin to recognize the sounds of birds.

We headed back for breakfast and said good-bye to most of our group, who were on the three-day adventure. We really enjoyed all the others in our group – they were similar ages and fitness levels as us. Just us and our German friend Marina remained with Robin the last day. The four of us took about an hour hike to a giant ceiba tree – one Robin claimed was the largest in the world. After researching it upon returning home, I’m pretty sure some sequoias are bigger, but it was still huge, taking 24 people to wrap around it. We ventured around it a few times, took some photos, tried climbing the vines, and found a tarantula living below it.

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The hike was just as cool as the tree. Along the round-trip adventure we saw army ants, cicada mounds (where they live until they come out every 17 years), pocket monkeys, pale-winged trumpeters, a telephone tree (with a giant, deep echo when struck), a rubber tree, and lots of termite tracks and mounds.

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We got back to the lodge around 11:30 and rested in our hammock for a while, where we saw a giant lizard chilling right outside our room. We ate beef, rice, banana patties and salad for lunch, then watched another local soccer game. Just on our trek to the soccer field we saw several monkeys and a fairly large rodent. At 3:30 we headed out on the boat with another group to a local farm. We stopped at a beach along the river for a quick walk. I thoroughly enjoyed getting my toes in the sand. (The college girls swam much to our guides’ delight, but I was leery of the high lead content from all the river gold mining upstream.)

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Along the riverbank we also got to see capybara – and giant guinea pig-looking rodent – one of my hopes for the trip!

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Aside from a couple of emaciated dogs that Jerod wouldn’t let me feed, there was no one at the Infierno farm, so our guides gave us a tour. We started out trying papaya and banana, and we also got to see star fruit, avocado, hybrid citrus plants, Peruvian tomatoes, fish-eye chilies, coca plants, a beautiful Heliconia tree, chickens, and more. Unfortunately the farm had flooded about three years prior and washed away herbs and other low-growing plants. It was interesting to see how the plants were just growing amongst each other – no rows of plants like back home. We got to witness a beautiful sunset on the return boat ride.

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Back at the lodge we enjoyed beef stir-fry and noodle soup. We had no wi-fi, so Jerod and I actually indulged in a couple of drinks (the only thing not included at Posada Amazones) to pass the time. We went to bed around 9 p.m. and finally slept great – on our last night of course!

Photo(s) of the Day: On the Farmstead

This weekend Baby K and I visited Deanna Rose Farmstead with two of my best friends and their four kiddos. These friends are two of four siblings, with a total of seven kids ages three and under. They’re used to the beautiful chaos of lots of children … I am not. But I loved every minute of it.

Feeding the ducks was quite a hit.
Feeding the ducks was quite a hit. For the kids and the ducks.

My friend Lindsey with the oldest two, feeding the fish and turtles.
My friend Lindsey with the oldest two, feeding the fish and turtles.

Beautiful, curious eyes.
Beautiful, curious eyes. So proud to be her Godmother.

Look at that smile, and that hair! Such a pretty girl.
Look at that smile, and that hair! Such a pretty girl.