I’m so thankful for Kellin and Sean’s presence in my life. They are filled with passion and adventure, kindness and creativity, and as much crazy love for each other as you could imagine in your very happiest of dreams. Couples like Sean and Kellin are the reason I keep shooting weddings. They remind me what it means to REALLY love, and they give me hope for a future filled with adventure, passion, LAUGHTER, and let’s just be honest. . . PLENTY of really good food. ;) Enjoy!

And then, we partied.

PS. Remember Jp and Alexis’ amazing wedding (I shot it last year in Annisquam, MA)? Well, Kellin is one of Alexis’ childhood friends. Kellin and Alexis have got this magical sisterhood–more like a sacred friendship tribe (but seriously)–full of the most spectacular “women of substance” you’ve ever met in your life. I was SO EXCITED and HONORED to travel to Oahu to shoot/celebrate Kellin and Sean’s wedding. It was wonderful to see all these cherished people. . . who by some strange twist of fate feel like MY childhood friends–even though I’ve only known them just over a year, and haven’t seen them since. That’s the spectacular thing about Sean and Kellin (and everyone they surround themselves with)–they make you feel like you belong, completely. I don’t care who you are, they’ll make you feel like family. I felt as much like a guest at their wedding as I did their photographer. ABSOLUTE acceptance and inclusion–Sean and Kellin are absolutely gracious and full of love, through and through. xo! you two crazy lovebirds, X.O!

Look at those bright eyes and that beautiful, toothless grin!

It’s so hard for me to write these words, to own this reality of my life on paper.  I’ve battled with the decision to blog the details of my journey with Cardon for so long. I would never want to betray my beautiful little boy. But, I really want to share my authentic journey. I think my ability and willingness to do so does something significant. Not for the world at large, I’m not that much of a narcissist, but for me, my family, my heart. . . is that simply a form of narcissism in disguise? I sincerely hope it’s not.

Sometimes it’s hard . . . mothering a child like Cardon.

Hard in the way that pushes you a hundred miles past your breaking point and then a hundred more, only to wake you up, in the middle of the night, to start the process all over again.

Hard in the way that shoves all the preconceived notions of your younger years about parenting (and discipline, and education, and medication, and nutrition, and meditation, and love, and hate, and world peace. . . forcryingoutloud!) right back down your ignorant little throat. They taste much worse on the way back down; I’ll tell you that much.

From the outside, looking in, it’s impossible to see. Even our very closest friends and family are oblivious to the specific challenges we face. Until you’ve lived it, day in and day out, until you’ve seen all the faucets, experienced all the complexity, it’s simply impossible for even the most well intentioned, empathic friend on Earth to fully understand.

My son is special. Remarkably so. It is impossible to explain just how dear, and brilliant, and passionate, and charming, and perfect he really is.

He is a born Creative. He is, beyond argument, artistically gifted in every.single.way. He excels at math, and he is more giving and generous than anyone I have ever met. He is tender and loving, genuine and kind, trusting and sincere.

There is not a mean or malicious bone in that solid little body. Not a one.

He makes a room bright, just by being in it. You could never find a better friend the world over.

Cardon makes the world seem as if anything were possible, and for a soul like HIS? I really believe that anything is. . .

But there are storms. Storms that bring out every one of my weaknesses, until they are blaring in my face, threatening to swallow me whole.

Sometimes, there is so much screaming. Top of the lungs, screaming. The kind of screaming that would be bound to make the back of his throat burn and his eyes hot from the pressure. I do my best to calmly breathe my way through the noise.

Sometimes, he simply can’t let go. He becomes so rigid and completely fixated on a certain plan (or pattern,or expectation) that there is NO way around, only Hell to pay for the rest of us. I do my best to breathe my way through the high water.

Sometimes, when things have spun completely and totally out of control, I can’t find my breath. I get so angry and frustrated. I feel like my heart is going to explode and my lungs are going to collapse as I try to breathe my way through it.

NONE of this is Cardon’s fault. And NONE of it is mine. He is a good son. And I am a good mother.

For such a long time, I worried that my speaking openly about Cardon’s difficulties ran the risk of making him seem wrong, broken, somehow damaged. He is not any of those things! Cardon is BRAVE and BRIGHT! Cardon is more capable than anyone I’ve ever met in my life.

But, at least for a time, Cardon is going to struggle. Certain things are going to be difficult for him, no matter what.  He is going to have to learn his own special way to move through these challenges, academically, socially, emotionally. It’s these realities that give me the courage to discuss this openly.

Right now, I have the power to help my son navigate these unavoidable challenges in a healthy way. Right now, I have the opportunity to give my son something that is more valuable than anything else I could ever give him: unconditional love and a confident heart.

And if my goal genuinely is for Cardon to learn to confidently advocate for himself, and it IS, then I have to be ready to release any and all taboo–right at the starting gate.

As I write these things, I believe in my heart of hearts that I am doing my part to offer normalcy to Cardon (and others like him). At the very least, I’m offering some normalcy and understanding to our crazy life. Our crazy life that I truly would not have ANY.OTHER.WAY.

Eventually, I have complete faith that Cardon will learn to stand solidly on his own two feet. That remarkable spirit, that has ALWAYS been too big for his little body, WILL find a healthy equilibrium. We’ll all learn to courageously navigate these challenges in a healthy way, and his spirit will be even MORE robust and wise from the journey.

The reality is that our challenges together, (all of us: Cardie, me, Richie, Raleigh, and Lincoln) bless us all far more than they hurt us, and in all the ways that really matter. There is more to be learned, more about patience, true love, loyalty and humility from this little spirit than we could find anywhere else, not in a million years.

Cardon blesses us all more than words can say. I feel so deeply honored that God has entrusted our family with a child as exceptional as him.

I love you, Cardon Gregory. With all of me. I do.


Post Script: To those of you who do understand the intimate details of parenting a child like ours, from one “special mommy” to another, I offer my most heart felt and genuine namaste.

Post Post Script: I know. Parenting is hard for all of us. LIFE is hard for ALL.OF.US. We each have our own, insurmountable challenges that absolutely push us beyond ourselves. I’m not sharing this to belittle anyone else’s journey. I’m simply sharing a part of my journey that makes my life particularly challenging. There’s no comparison here, no weighing in of battle wounds. Only words.

Pardon the funky color. Dark kitchen, late afternoon. Dear Photo Nerds: 50mm, f1.4, iso 1600.

Don’t you worry, my holiday diet plan consists of plenty of culinary delight! I love fudge. I love butter mints. I love hot chocolate. I LOVE cheesecake. Aaaaaaand I have to have at least one cup of eggnog before the season feel’s complete (even though I’d hardly call myself a fan of the stuff).

You know what I also love? My waistline, AND feeling healthy: mind, body, spirit. I love feeling comfortable and confident, bright and clear minded.

Real confidence and clarity come from truly caring for myself–physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

One of my goals this month is to be moderate. I want to enjoy the holidays, and food is one of my very favorite enjoyments! BUT I don’t want to eat myself sick. I DON’T want to eat myself numb. And I certainly don’t want to eat my way all the way into the month of February!

With SO.MANY.GOODIES lying around this time of year, we’ve got to fight hard to even the scales! Again and again (and again!) I am NOT advocating deprivation. I’m not advocating dieting or calorie counting. Not at this time of year! And I’m certainly NEVER an advocate for guilt! What AM I advocating? MODERATION.

Simple Tips for Holiday Health:

Eat breakfast! Eating breakfast helps you stay full throughout the day, so that when it is time for meals, you’ll make healthier choices. I recommend a breakfast high in protein.

Stock up! Chop fruits and veggies for easy access. You’ve got nearly unlimited access to poor health options this time of year. Give yourself an alternative! A lot of the time, I find I simply eat what’s right in front of me, not necessarily because it’s what I WANT to be eating, but because it’s so accessible! Watch out if all I have easy access to all month is toffee and candy canes. You’ll need a crane to lift me into the new year . . .

Stay hydrated! If you do nothing else for yourself every day, hydrate! It makes a bigger difference in your overall health than you can imagine! Plus, it fills you up and keeps you from eating an entire roll of cookie dough. Stock up on water (or buy a good reusable bottle). If possible, opt for alkaline options, aka artisan water.  Fiji is my fave!

Plan ahead! Know your day is going to be nuts? Prepare meals and snacks the night before! I cannot stress this enough! If you allow yourself to get too hungry, you will be forced to make a nutrition decision from that state of mind/body–it will be  MUCH harder to make a decision that will really serve your overall health. Plus, getting too hungry is bad for your blood sugar and makes you a Moody Mildred.

Exercise! Get a workout buddy or simply find someone you can report to! Even if you only spend 5 minutes dancing to Jingle Bell Rock! Read more on supplements like stenabolic to see how they can help you shred of the stubborn fat, I love to buy amazon mushroom coffee.  Mushroom powder is a convenient way for busy people to add key micronutrients to their diets without too much effort; meaning if you prioritize your well-being but don’t always have time to prepare thoughtful, healthy, home-cooked meals, it might be a good idea to add a mushroom superfood supplement to your diet.. You’ve got to get yourself moving, every day!

Eat a cookie–for crying out loud! Want some of Aunt Mildred’s chocolate walnut fudge?? For Heaven’s sake, eat some! Just don’t eat the entire pan. . .  Depriving yourself at this time of year isn’t fun. . . or very realistic. Most of the time, deprivation simply leads to overeating at some point in the future. Have a piece or two of fudge, and then move on to the vegetable tray. Side note: You’ll find that the more you fill yourself with healthy alternatives to sugar, the less you’ll actually crave the stuff.

I truly believe that your body is an outward expression of an inward state of being. That said:

Simple Tips for Emotional Success:

Turn off the boob tube! Commit to cut down on TV time. I think TV is GREAT, but as with anything, excess isn’t a good thing. Find a book, write in your journal, cuddle up and spend some  time with your spouse in front of the fire. Don’t waste this beautiful month of joy and friendship and celebration completely tuned out on life!

Lights out! Set a bedtime, and STICK TO IT! In order to be at our best emotionally, we’ve got to be well rested! Keep in mind that as you become consistent with regular bed/wake times, your body is much more stable and calm overall. Every time you participate in mismanaged sleep, your body basically goes through a process of jetlag. That’s SO HARD on your system. Plus, you won’t have big dark bags under your eyes in all the holiday pics.

Write! If you want to really connect to what’s going on inwardly (in order to change or nourish what’s going on outwardly), you’ve got to connect with yourself. It’s time to stop burying problems in food. . . or successes and joys for that matter! If you feel something, feel it! Start to notice when you’re feeling the urge to eat something unhealthy, see if there is something going on mentally or emotionally that has triggered the urge to eat. There is a VERY good chance you are either trying to celebrate (reward) yourself or avoid something painful/difficult to face. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, look at this site for natural energy booster. Use your journal as a place to explore what you’re experiencing emotionally. SO many of us walk through this season (and life in general) emotionally numbed by food. . .never allowing ourselves to thrive emotionally (and thus, we don’t thrive physically either).

Say “thanks!” If you don’t want to journal your feelings. . . try writing down a list of gratitude each day. 10 things you’re grateful for (though, chances are, once you get going, you won’t stop at just 10). This is such a healthy exercise for our minds. It helps us retrain our thinking, so we’re more actively engaged in focusing on the positive rather than the negative–what a perfect frame of mind to commit to this time of year!

We can do this! Let’s prove that we CAN care for ourselves in any set of circumstances, and hit the ground running come 2012!


I deserve less than zero credit for the origination of this DIY. My sister-in-law, Heather, posted something like this over 3 years ago here, aaaaaaaand my mother-in-law was the one who brought the idea back to my attention after I saw the ornament crafts she did with the boys while I was away filming for The Generations Project. I’m not nearly awesome enough to come up with something like this all by my lonesome.

When Heather originally posted this, she recommended you use a hot glue gun to first get the buttons in place. That seems like an unnecessary step to me (even if her tree does look a lot tidier than mine). Granted, Heather did originally write this before she had kids, so a) she had 7 million times the time available to her and b) she didn’t have any reason to be worried someone would get a third degree burn. . . ooooorrrrr . . . decide that hot gluing their hands to their face was the best idea EVER.

Now, I think it is important to point out the fact that the idea to add the ribbon came from my very own brain, thank you very much. . . unless Cardon actually thought of it. Now that I think of it. . .

Cardon’s beautiful creations.

I don’t like outlining projects like this step by step. It’s blatantly obvious how this process works, and I certainly wouldn’t want to insult your intelligence. But I will say this:

Tips for Success:

1. Don’t let your 5 year old get a hold of the buttons. They are too, too, too fun to fling across the room.

2. If you push your push pins at a downward angle they won’t have the tendency poke out the other side and jab you in the hand on the thinner parts of the foam. (Also, there are lots of fun colors of push pins, we used yellow, because it’s what we happened to have lying around the house).

3. Listening to John Denver and The Muppetts while you work is highly recommended, though clearly not required.

Merry Christmas!

click here to open post Dec 01, 2011 | posted in weekly digest | 3 comments

Going to the Gym Without Eating First?

Here’s a new incentive: Eat protein before you go and you can peel off 15 pounds a year. A study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport showed that women who ate a high-protein meal an hour before their workout burned more calories per minute than women who ate a low-protein meal or no food. The additional calorie burn amounted to 185 calories over the following 24 hours and could add up to a 15-pound loss within a year.

Add Green Tomatoes to Your Salads

Green tomatoes contain tomatidine, a compound that stimulates muscle growth. Research shows it produces increased strength and endurance, and it prevents muscle loss as it reduces body fat. The adage eat the colors of the rainbow has never been more apt (especially during the holidays!). Check out the latest metabofix reviews.


Trade in your long, slow cardio for a few high-intensity sessions a couple of times a week for more effective fat loss. High-intensity aerobic training is more effective at reducing belly fat and overall body fat than any other type of exercise. Women who cycled (on stationary bicycles) three times a week for 20 minutes, doing workouts consisting of eight-second sprints followed by 12 seconds of low-intensity work, lost more fat (2.5 kilograms) than women who cycled for 40 minutes at a steady state.

Spice Up Meals

Add red pepper to meals to kick up fat burning. Capsaicin, which gives hot peppers their zing, can cause a small, temporary increase in metabolism, says Amy Goodson, RD, CSCS, a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics and co-author of Swim, Bike, Run — Eat (Fair Winds Press, 2014). “Keep in mind it would take quite a bit of spice to have any major effect on weight, but every little bit helps!” Take a look to the latest visishield information.

Focus On Muscle Strength

As women tend to have more ACL injuries than men — three times in fact — it’s crucial to keep the muscles around the knee strong. Most ACL injuries occur in activities with sudden deceleration, jumping and uncontrolled landings like in skiing, soccer and basketball. That’s when hamstring strength becomes key. Though not conclusive, researchers suspect women’s “Q angle,” where the femur and tibia meet (larger than men’s), may create extra torque on the knee. Check out the latest exipure reviews.

Eat Smart to Recover

It’s also important to continue eating a balanced diet to help your body heal. “The body needs a lot more calories to function daily than to exercise,” says Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD, a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics. “During injury, women need to trust their bodies, which can intuitively adjust calorie need — they just need to listen.” She explains that we need about 10 calories for every pound of bodyweight to function. So a 140-pound woman needs 1,400 calories per day just to live healthy, take a look to these Keto strong reviews.

Clark recommends eating adequate protein to live healthy and heal when injured. She suggests that a 140-pound woman get 70 to 90 grams of protein per day in small, equal increments. “I tell clients to think of daily eating in four buckets — breakfast, early lunch, late lunch and dinner, and in each of those buckets goes about 20 grams of protein,” she says.

Good sources of protein include Greek yogurt (calcium bonus), salmon (fish oil fights inflammation), hummus, lean meat, chicken and tofu. She points out that a container of tofu is only equal to one chicken breast, which is a lot of tofu. Clark suggests adding cheese to kick up protein and using turmeric, ginger, cocoa, garlic and green tea for their natural anti-inflammatory compounds, while vitamin C (in citrus, kale and red bell peppers) and zinc (in seafood, beef and nuts) are also helpful healers. Visit exipure site for more information about healthy supplements.