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lessons from the ticket blaster..

Analeigh is almost four.

I feel like by now, I know my kid pretty well.

I know she won’t eat anything unless it was her idea to do so.
I know she will ask to watch a movie on my phone every morning at 6 am. (thank you Jesus for netflix on iPhone)
I know that when it looks sunny she will ask to go outside and play. and when you tell her again that it is still freezing outside, she will push out her bottom lip and I will feel like joining her in pouting.
I know she doesn’t want her hair done. I know she can’t sleep without her blankey. I know she wants to wear a dress.. every single day.

I also thought my kid would never go near anything that remotely resembles a “ticket blaster.”

When I booked her surprise party at Chuck E. Cheese I saw that the birthday kid gets to go in the blaster to try and win as many tickets as possible… and I thought.. that’s awesome but she will never ever in a million years go in there.

And I was right. She saw it and said she wouldn’t go in.

Thennnnnnn she saw the prize desk and realized that to buy prizes she needed tickets and they blaster held the tickets… a+b=prizes.. glorious prizes.

A switch flipped in her little beautiful brain and she was instantly begging for her turn in the machine… she over heard the hostess say one of us could go with her, and she begged me to go with her (um, heck yes!)

So as soon as the cake was cut, she started in on the host to let her have her turn…
She put on goggles and she clung for dear life to me as we entered the blaster.
She lasted less than 10 seconds inside before frantically asking to be done but my admiration for her grew 10 fold.


How does such a tiny person impress me so much? How is it our children can teach us lessons without knowing they are doing it?

She faced her fear because she knew the outcome would be worth the momentary discomfort.
She pushed through her comfort zone in to something foreign and quite frankly scary and trusted in the process.

She scored 79 tickets in her 10 seconds in the blaster, and the host gave her 200 for being so brave.

At the counter later, redeeming her hard earned tickets, she pointed out a doll that was about 400 tickets out of our range.. we start discussing our options and the girl working the counter hands her the doll she wanted, no questions asked.

You earned it Birthday Girl. Mama is so proud of you..



p.s. thanks to my hubs for taking these photos!

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that thing she does.. i do it too.

When she does that.. like she is seeking safety from something unknown to her, from something that brings anxiety in to her innocent heart… and she does that right there to his arm.

Swoops in from behind and holds tight to security like she knows no matter what happens he will protect her..

that little hand on his bicep. that beautiful round cheek on his arm.

the feeling that he will protect us from all the unknown in the world.

It’s my favorite. and I do it too.


Dara - March 16, 2014 - 2:01 am

Allie , i just have to say that i love the way you write . I see things the same way you do and i love that you capture that as well as write about it . Im so honored to know you . I hope you all had a wonderful day !

admin - March 16, 2014 - 2:09 am

you are so sweet. thank you for commenting and letting me know that I don’t sound like a total dork. life is just amazing and sometimes these images just pop out at me and scream HELLO ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION TO HOW AMAZING LIFE IS?!

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celebrating Ana..

Tomorrow morning is going to be the best morning ever.

Analeigh, my (almost) four year old little girl, is obsessed with birthdays. Mainly her own and she begins planning then next one before the last one has even passed. We have had blue and pink and zebra first birthday party, monsters inc second party and last year a care bears third party! As she neared four, I wanted something smaller, something that involved less busy work of creating decor and favors.. (let’s be honest, I am only four years in and I am already giving up party planning… poor Ana.. lol)

We went to a skating party and she wanted that. We went to a swimming party and she wanted that. We went to a party at a cheer gym and she wanted that. I came to the conclusion that homegirl likes everything. She even very enthusiastically agreed to have another church party. So long as there is a cake she is happy. So she mentions to me randomly that she would like to have her party at Chuck E. Cheese. (How does my three year old know about Chuck E. Cheese? I thought, but apparently there is a commercial on Nick) so when we decided that Tim and I would be taking an opportunity to go on a cruise in April (setting sail on her birthday) that we would move the party up a few weeks and let it be a complete surprise.

As in, she has no clue what tomorrow holds. NO CLUE. and we are not telling her where we are going until we get in the car. ๐Ÿ˜€

We have invited a small group of her little friends and I cannot wait to see her face when they are all there! A tried and true surprise party of the most exciting kind! CHUCK E. STINKING CHEESE!

And the best news, it was cheaper than any of the parties I have ever thrown! AND I didn’t have to do ANYTHING but order the reservation online!! WINNNNNNING.

I hope I can sleep tonight! Photos to come…

but in the meanwhile, here is a shot my girl let me take today during a photoshoot in the studio. The little girl that was here asked to have curls like Ana today, and her mama replied “Baby, those curls came from Jesus!” haha! so true.

Enjoy your weekend, I know that we will!


If you want to follow us on this adventure – follow me on instagram @alliebphoto



Kasey Brookover - March 15, 2014 - 3:44 am

Have a fantastic time! Mom & dad of the year!

Babs - March 15, 2014 - 2:11 pm

Now I’m excited for you !! Thanks for sharing. Love your sweet little family : )

admin - March 16, 2014 - 2:11 am

HARDLY! but we do try and make it fun!

admin - March 16, 2014 - 2:11 am

it was so good!!

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Viva Las Vegas

I am blogging today from 30,000 feet aboard a plane to Las Vegas. Now before you go thinking I am reliving a scene from The Hangover (although with my friend Stephanie along.. no promises… I kid) the reason for my flight is that I am going to the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International convention. This is my second trip to Vegas for photography education- the first being two years ago when I tearfully left my then almost two year old daughter for four nights to attend a conference known as United (Tim came too.) The scene is somewhat different this year with Analeigh being almost four and Tim staying at home with her while I travel. Yes, I will miss my family but the painfully tearful goodbye has been replaced with hugs and kisses and I’ll text when I land.. This is very different indeed.

The trip is going to be a total of 7 nights (counting last night when I stayed at my sisters in Columbus before my 8 am flight. This will match the number of nights I was away for the Pittsburgh/Jamaica weddings last June. (Only minimal tears were shed then, but it was due to a flight cancellation, not my three year old)

When I think about why this time is so different and the guilt tries to sneak in over leaving my family for a week at a time, I stop myself. This is my job. This Is part of what I do to put food on the table. Yes, it’s fun. Yes, I love it. But it is the path that I have been blessed to be on and within that there is no room for the tears or guilt.

When Analeigh was small, I put in years of solid, non-stop mothering. I didn’t leave her for any reason other than to work, and rushed back to her the instant the last shutter clicked. I was on the fast track to burn-out town.. And crash and burn I have. I’ve felt the effects of never giving yourself a break, and the detriment of giving and never wanting to take.

Gratefully, we powered through and I am still standing ( and finally sleeping too.) I almost said no to the Jamaica wedding because I was worried about leaving my family. Worried she would miss me, worried my husband would wear out, worried that other people might see me as a poor example.. I don’t know why but my typically secure nature was about to deny a huge opportunity to have bucket list caliber experiences because of fear.

—There is no worry in trust, there is no trust in worry. —-

One sentence that changed everything. I believe it was one of the sermons at church or maybe a bible study, but this sentence made me question everything I know about my faith and what it means to trust God in the things we worry about. This sentence screamed to me

“I am giving you an opportunity. Take it. Don’t you believe I am big enough to handle the details?!”

The answer was so crystal clear to me. God provides these opportunities to me at just the right time. He loves me enough to say “this is for you, go” and I now trust Him enough to say “I know you’ll take care of us, even if I get worried” and it just diminishes all guilt and allows me to fully live and be in the moment when I do get the chance to travel alone.

I know leaving your babies is hard and I honestly don’t suggest rushing it, but there is a faith lesson in letting go of your fears and seizing opportunities like these.

I will be spending the next week with eight ladies from all other the globe. Denver, California, Florida and even Canada. Women that I spend more time having deep involved mommy conversations with (via Facebook)than my own local friends. Women that I have had in my life for three years as I walked out this life of being a mother and photographer. Women who are also these things and truly, truly understand that being a photographer is more than pretty pictures all day. Mothers who I admire and dearly love.

So yes, for the next week I will be immersed in photo-nerdery. I will speak in a language none of you non-photographers would understand. I will learn, I will grow, I will probably have a breakthrough (praying for that.)

But maybe more importantly, I will take time to be Allie, the woman who loves photography. The woman who likes to talk uninterrupted for hours with other women. The woman who needs a break from real life to reboot and refresh and come back better than I left. The woman who has no guilt or shame about taking time to herself, in Las Vegas… And yes.. there will be (guilt-free cocktails.



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February giveaway winner!

And the winner is….


Seriously?! I am so excited for these two lovebirds! I did their wedding in September and she revealed to me (when she commented on my blog, to enter!) that she was expecting a baby girl! We have had a unique and amazing relationship and I am honored to be her photographer! (Brian’s pretty great too ;))

Here is a photo from her Snowshoe Resort wedding!





Kandace - February 27, 2014 - 3:11 am

I think we are meant to be in each other’s lives!

admin - February 27, 2014 - 3:21 am

We have had so many “did we just become best friends?!?” moments! (ala Step Brothers) ๐Ÿ˜‰

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