reunited….

My husband and I had a great weekend, just the 2 of us doing things we used to do before we became a Mr and Mrs with 6 kids.  Day trips, breakfast out, all of it.  I felt naked running out the door without the worry of the dogs following or kids breaking the perimeter. They were in good hands and it allowed us the opportunity to be just Tom and Kate.

So many unfinished thoughts were finished this weekend.  There is something about opening space for ideas to grow.  It just takes a little less responsibility and my mind soars !  About 48 hours into it I turned to my husband and said that I was sure I was not missing anything.  All those afternoons when life got out of hand and I was longing for a road trip with just him and I.  It all sounded dreamy but the trips are not the same without the 6 kids in tow.  I missed them, like really missed them.

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If you find yourself in Saugatuck, Mi stop in and see Mike at Amsterdam.  You will not be disappointed.

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So we woke up this morning, grabbed a scone and hit the road.  It felt good to walk into our house and be just as missed.

I am looking forward to seasons shifting.  Gathering up as many memories that August 2014 will allow and preparing our family for another successful school year.  I seriously can not believe I am writing those words.

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What I learned this weekend is although everyone needs that time away to spread their arms and really grab onto the future.  It is not a comfortable space for me.  I am Mom.  It is my number one job and although I struggle with it pretty much every.single.day it is where I am most comfortable and I am glad to have slid right back into my roll this afternoon.

We wrapped the weekend with a homemade pie and the beginnings of some refurbishing projects I am working on.  Michigan delivers when it comes to vintage treasures. (More to come!)4Q3B1482 copy

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Happy Sunday friends.  My mind is chocked full of ideas that I look forward to sharing with you all over the next couple of weeks.

Getting away…..off we go….

So the weekend is here!  The 1 weekend a year my parents travel to our house and watch our kids so that my husband and I can get away for the weekend.  Just the 2 of us.  Ahhhh. Writing that makes me want to relax!

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To say I am excited is an understatement.  We usually go on our annv weekend but this year life happened and my parents we unable to come.  I look at this way, sometimes the wait is the best part.  I love anticipating weekends like this.  Dreaming about what we are going to do.  Relax, pack it full of things we always wanted to do but can’t with six kids, so many options.

I know for sure we will enjoy each other.  Something we only get to do once a week on our “date night”.  We usually bring friends on this weekend but this year it is just us.  I felt like this year it needed to be just us.

So off we go!  Pure Michigan here we come!  You can follow along on  Instagram (I am 5boysand1girlmake6) as we travel the coast of Michigan, spend time with our neighbors in up there……alright….and pack every possible thing in we can between 7pm tonight and 12pm on Sunday!

A huge shout out to Grandparents, both sets!  It takes a village and we sure appreciate all of you!

I did some imagery for the sweetest bookstore in the city this week.  Check out Open Books Bookstore.  It is total eye candy filled with used books at a great price.  It is worth your time.  You can see my images here.

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I worked on a little project for our local playhouse families at GiGi’s Playhouse Oak Forest this week.   Ahhhh the faces and messages of excitement!  I can’t wait to share with you the result!  All kids regardless of their abilities are super excited about what the school year has in store for them!  Here are some behind the scenes!

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(these 2 and their friendship.  good stuff)

 

If you are interested in staying up to date on my photography work.  Please check out 5 boys + 1 girl = 6 Photography.  I update the site with my latest and greatest sessions.  I am looking for additional commercial clients!  If you are a business owner looking for imagery please feel free to email me at tkdriscoll2000@yahoo.com

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If you are local – Check out my Facebook page for a way to win 100.00 off your family session this fall!  All you have to do is share the post and comment!

Happy Thursday friends!  Make your weekend great!  I sure plan to!

When I was young….

When I was young I looked at things so differently.  Like any child I loved new dresses especially when my mom bought my sister and I matching ones.  I loved a good homemade chocolate chip cookie and trips to the big city either Chicago or St Louis.  I had a good childhood.  I grew up in small towns and even though my parents were divorced before I could even remember they were married their new spouses accepted me as their own.   I was always surrounded by people who cared about me and from what I know now that means I am pretty blessed.

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Now that I live in Chicago I have become accustom to the way the big city works.  I like the convenience of entertainment, shopping and culture only miles away from my house.  I wouldn’t change where I am right now for anything.  What I do know is when I have the opportunity to return home to the place I came from I see things I never saw before.

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There is something about wide open fields of corn and beans with towering wind mills in the horizon.  Long roads that are labeled with east 2500 north and small towns that include a Caseys General Store.  (which happens to have the BEST pizza ever)

Yesterday we dressed our kids and jumped into the car after a soccer practice and a late night swim party to travel down state to my Aunt and Uncles farm for a family reunion.  I would like to say we attend every year but we don’t.  Life gets busy and it is easy to cross family reunion off the list.  Not this year.  Although we were an hour and a half late we made it.  I knew it was going to be good as I walked up to the garage and saw tables filled with cousins, aunts and uncles.  We had many of these potluck dinners as I was growing up, right there in that garage but I never noticed how amazing they were.  A whole buffet of food that was hand made with love.  Igloo coolers filled with ice cold iced tea, lemon aid and water.  Things we rarely see anymore.

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I probably said it 14 times yesterday how good it felt to eat all this amazing food in one place.  It just doesn’t happen anymore.  Rarely do I take the time to make mac and cheese from scratch when it is so much easier to call Portillos and order out.  The dessert table didn’t stop.  Filled with cookies and cakes that just felt like home.

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It was fun to watch my kids run around with no shoes or shirts playing with their cousins and really taking in  the wide open spaces of the farm.  They could have stayed for a month.  There is something about the feeling of freedom you have when on a farm filled with motorized tractors and sandboxes larger then are parks.  Who wouldn’t want to stay.

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Then the tour of farm buildings filled with animals, tractors and antiques collected over the years.  It was good.  My sons had lots of questions.  They could not even understand how one person could use that many pieces of machinery.  It was fascinating and something I took for granted as a child.

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As we were driving home my husband was in complete amazement at the thought of being a farmer.  Much like I am at the thought of climbing stories into the skies building sky scrapers with iron as his father and uncles did.

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I know one thing I have new respect for where I came from.  There is a whole lot to be thankful for.  The opportunity to grow up with potlucks and to live in towns where I pretty much knew everyone gave me the foundation to leave, to melt into my new environment. But to return just fills my cup.  I am reminded at how lucky I am to be surrounded by family that is always there to welcome us in.  All we have to do is stop by.  Pretty blessed we are.

OX Katie

 

I am Back AND I learned something

I have been MIA in a lot of ways these past couple of weeks.  There have been days I would describe as @$^*$% and then there have been days that all the stars, the moon and the sun align.  Life.  Our life.  It continues to impress me.4Q3B1310 copy 4Q3B1315 copy

This post is a whole lotta posts together.  The past couple of weeks have included a lot of events that warrant their own little space here but I am a mom.  I have six kids, and things do not always work out the way they are supposed to.

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Summer has and continues to be amazing but extremely challenging.  I have really pushed myself to be with my kids.  Good or bad days, be with them.  If I really analyze myself I could write that I have failed miserably but if I scroll though the images I have taken my heart swells with pride.  The moments far out weight the frustration as a whole.  We stepped away from camps and scheduled events to just be together.  I question my choice but in my heart I know there is no right answer so forward we go.

We celebrated with my sister and her family the life of their oldest son Brayden.  We lost him to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  It wasn’t easy to say good bye to that precious life but the gifts we have all received from him have changed our lives.

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We talk about him.  What he has done for us.  How much we miss him.  How thankful we are that we all had him for a short time.  My sister, mom and I went on a long over due girls day (and night) and at the end of it we talked about that day.  The day he went to heaven.  There were tears and for a moment I felt the pain that I felt that day as I drove to be with my sister and her husband.  It is good to talk about loss because although those moments will be etched in our minds for eternity the growth that comes from those moments is so valuable.

These past couple of months I have been walking in circles.  Questioning myself on exactly how to move forward on a lot of levels.  The feelings of inadequacy were spilling over onto all my ideas and then there was Africa.  A place that I knew about but really didn’t know about.  Does that make sense?  I had no idea the pain and suffering going on there.  It was just a place on the map to me.  As I learned about feeding children from my friend Diane Grover as she worked with other moms through Coins for Kids.  I met the founder of The Mighty Acorn Foundation, Denise DeMarchis who is not only feeding children but  giving them the love they so desperately need as well as providing education to give the opportunity to grow so that they teach change in a country that needs a whole lot of change.  Most recently a friend Kelle Hampton embarked on a trip with The Noonday Collection to learn about artisans that have been able to better their own lives and the lives of their families by selling their beautiful handmade products. #styleforjustice

She wrote this beautiful post last night and it was titled “I believe I can make good things happen”

“Great things happen when we stop believing that we have to know everything before we make an intention and just start practicing. When we let go of:

I can’t because it’s not possible…
I can’t because I have no experience…
I can’t because it’s an arrogant goal…
I can’t because I don’t know what I’m doing…
I can’t because people will think…
I can’t because it’s never been done before…
I can’t because I don’t have the resources…

I believe I can make good things happen. Period.” – Kelle Hampton

I heard those words loud and clear.  I am tired of my excuses.  I could give you a 100 reasons why I am a bad mother, a terrible writer, or how absolutely terrible I am at prioritizing things in my life.  But at the end of the day they are all excuses.

“I too will make good things happen, I will stop making excuses.” – Katie Driscoll

That feels so good to say.

So a couple things I learned in just 2 weeks.

Just being with family is a must.

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My camera will take me to places I never thought were possible.

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Pizza solves everything.  Gluten Free, Squash crust or plain ol Pizza Hut.  It solves all bad mama days.

 

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On that note some amazing things are brewing.

JC Penny’s displayed the beautiful real life mannequins featured in the segment that Grace and I were a part of on The Today Show in their Manhattan, NYC store.  If you love this as much as I do, click here! and send them note thanking them for standing up for all people in our world!  It is as easy as a Facebook message.  They are listening.  I promise they are listening.

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And my friend Kerry Lynch and her daughter Mary Cate were featured on The Today Show in Australia!  Their message #choosekind is global!

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Tats and Babies and all that good stuff…..

I mean it when I say Tat’s, I am talking about the good ones.  The ones that won’t wash off.  We are on day 6 and they are going strong.  They stand for a 4th of July well done.  It is a tradition.  Our neighbor Sue has a line 5 kids deep for at least an hour.  She has it down to a science.  Wet, place and wet again.  Do a little arm dance and walla a beautiful tattoo that will last days, maybe even weeks.

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So we are relishing in the last reminders of a great holiday weekend and loving on our babies.  I could watch this girl play Mama for hours.  She is a good one too.  Minus the whiplash that babe might get when  she/he flies backward off of her shoulders, but she loves them.  She talkes to them, kisses them and cares for them.

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So I am sharing the goodness from this past week in pictures.

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Someone learned to ride his bike.  

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More water fun.

Good memories.  As we move into the second half of the summer the anxiety of what the next year of school will bring is also creeping in.  I have had lots of worries lately.  Trying to find a place for all of it.  Ahhh the ebb and flow of parenthood.  It is hard.  Really hard.

TGIF folks!  We are off to a very special golf outing tomorrow afternoon, honoring our nephew Brayden Powell.  He was only with us a short time but he remains in our hearts every day! Tomorrow we celebrate him! OX Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the table….(someday)

I woke up this morning to a dreary day.  Rain falling softly outside and  a little giddy about it for two reasons. One it gives me the opportunity to not have to go anywhere and two the rain will make my flowers that much more beautiful.  So I poured myself a cup of coffee, grabbed a cozy blanket and checked in to see what was going on in the world.

I came across a video a friend had posted on Facebook by Colbie Caillat called “Try”.  She talked about how much she liked the video and the singer herself.  I could not agree more.  I am a huge fan!  I clicked the link to watch.

Colbie Caillat’s Self Acceptance Anthem – “Try”

I loved the song and I loved the message in the video but my stomach sank at the end of it.  Coblie like many others made conscious decisions through out the video to include every age, a diversified ethnicity, as well as a beautiful women who does not have any hair.  Loved every part of that.  Through the whole video I am thinking in my head this is progress!  This is progress.  But at the end of the song I knew that once again the largest minority in the world was not even on the table.  Not even thought about.  There was no one in this video living with a different ability.

I know it was not intentional and this was not the first time……

or the last that they will talk about self perception and forget about the population that just might struggle with it the most. I will continue to wish that producers will someday think about our world just a little bit longer.  Hope that someday they will picture someone born with an extra chromosome or someone using a wheelchair for legs.  If they really thought about it I know they would have been included too.

I once had a conversation about a plea I had written in previously about the r-word and how offensive it was to my daughter and our family.  She told me her first reaction was that I was being overly sensitive.  I was taking this advocacy for my daughter a little too far.  It caught me off guard but I was happy that she was being honest with me.   She went on to say that as she thought about it she realized that if anyone called another person a derogatory comment that happened to relate to a condition that her children had it would floor her, push her over the edge.  She would not allow it.  It clicked and she was now in my shoes.  She was in the shoes of all parents and individuals living with a disability.  I knew at that moment she would never use that word again and she would teach her children not to use that word.

Some might read this and think that I am overly sensitive and maybe I am.  I just pose the question why?  How is it that individuals with different abilities make up the largest minority in the world and when the planning goes down for music videos, self awareness projects, advertisements, and publicity ideas they are never even talked about?  Never even thought of.

I continue to stand strong in my view that change will be slow, acceptance will be hard, and employment will be almost impossible the longer they are not on the table.  If our media continues to ignore this huge population of real people, our society will continue to forget about them, unintentionally.

 

gratitude and good times

We are wrapping a great weekend that began with a power outage from the crazy storms last week and ended with a fantastic meal on the deck tonight with friends.  Everything else in-between was like the creamy filling between 2 oreos.  The good stuff.

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We are exhausted, but in a good way.  We rocked the red, white and blue and are forever grateful for those who have fought to give us the freedom to celebrate it.  I celebrated with gratitude more then once over the past couple days.  Grateful for a beautiful place to visit, filled with friends who have become family.  Grateful for my Dad and the time he spent on the beach with his grandchildren.  Grateful for the memories.  Very grateful for the memories that are important to not only to Tom and I but our kids.

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So we are wrapping the weekend with a fan and a some great conversation on the porch tonight. Celebrating another year for this country and another summer of freedom.

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Happy Independence America!  Here is a little ditty of our family and friends!

4th of July 2014 from katie driscoll on Vimeo.

Happy Sunday!  Looking forward to seeing what July will bring.

OX Katie

a little something for me

Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands.  Years have gone by and if you flip through our family photos you will see maybe 1 or 2 images with my children and I.  Last year I bought myself, my own Mothers Day session with a local photographer so that I would have images with all my kids.  The other day I was out to lunch with our cousin Maryellen and she mentioned how easy it was to take images of myself with a little thing called a remote!  Stop the bus!  All I need is a remote?  Sold.  That afternoon I was searching for the perfect tripod and remote on Amazon.

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Well they came today.  insert – Happy Dance.  It is ironic they came today.  On a day I am feeling all, yuck.  I flipped through 110 things I would like to change about myself this afternoon as I was shuffling my kids to the dentist.  It is hard to embrace my own self sometimes.  I have never been 100% comfortable in my own skin.  Whether it is my hair, weight, height, feet.  What ever.  There has always been something.

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I continue to work on over coming that.  Being the best me I can be and being proud of who I am regardless.  That is what is beautiful anyway.

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So today as I ventured out to the sunset with my oldest and youngest, my bookends,  I let loose.  I enjoyed them and I enjoyed myself.  I decided any image that has my kids and myself in it is and will always be my favorite.

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Try it friends get out there and have Dad hold the camera for once.  Enjoy yourself and the beautiful beings you and he created!  Oh and enjoy a sunset because sunsets make everything better.  everything.

OX Katie

A whole lotta stuff….

We are wrapping up a very short week at home with Dr’s appointments, meetings and errands because we are blowing this pop stand.  We are heading to the beach for a whole lotta food, sun and fireworks.  I am just kind of excited.  This weekend was kind of a prelude to what is coming.

Strawberry and Cherry picking!  We have bowls of this fresh fruit begging for a 4th of July pie.  Coming soon.

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The water slide made its 2014 debut.

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Jazz on the porch of the Inn down the street.

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The Red, White and Blue is flying and we are looking forward to celebrating with family and friends.  Although the 4th often makes me feel like the summer is half we over I am going with the glass half full outlook.  Trying to make the most of what we have now.

Grace and I played around in the studio today.  I made my first flower crown.  You will be seeing a lot more of these!  Grace danced around in her beautiful new dress from Monica + Andy.  We love this children’s line and this dress is so much fun to wear.  She immediately started twirling!  It is perfect for any little princess.

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I also want to thank Todays Chicago Women Magazine for including me in the 100 Women of Inspiration.  What an honor to be included in a list along side so many inspiring ladies!

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More to come on our holiday week!  OX Katie

Rocking on…..

I woke up yesterday to my boys pacing around asking for play dates and water parks and anything else they could possibly think of.

“Really?” I thought.  We just got back from a trip and we are moving into the 4th of July festivities in Michigan.  Can’t we just relax?

Not happening.  So I sifted through the rolodex for ideas safely filed in my head of places I want to take my kids.  Freddy’s Pizza it is!  Dress the kids and out the door we went for a “lunch date”.  Well who would know there is a Freddie’s Pizza and a Freddy’s Pizza in Chicago?  Really? Isn’t there a law against that.  We visited both and after ordering at the Freddie’s with an i.e. I realized that we wanted to be at the Freddy’s with a y’s.  This is not unusual for me.  My field trip/lunch dates often take a turn for the worse.  I questioned myself as to why in the world I would truck 6 kids to the city for lunch.  I could pull right through the drive through and picnic at the park 2 blocks from my house, they would be just as happy.  I have to make memories I tell myself.  Well those memories come with a cost to my sanity every single time.

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After eating our lunch I announced not to fret!  We would be traveling to the Freddy’s with a y’s for gelato.  Off we went.  45 mins in bumper to bumper traffic because it is now 3:45pm on Friday, the weekend before the 4th.  Lets just say everyone was going somewhere.  That did not detour me.  Memories to be made and gelato to be had.

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We found Freddy’s with the y’s and as we filed in the tiny deli I read the sign “cash only” REALLY?

We filed out and walked 2 blocks down the street to the cash station. All 7 of us.  Exhausted reading this?  At this point I am questioning what the h*** I am doing.  I mean really Katie, you have to push yourself to the limit every single time.

We ended our afternoon in their opened air garden enjoying our gelato and I must say it is THE BEST GELATO I have ever had.  The kids licked the bowl.  It is a taste of Italy and if I was not over stressed and at the brink of loosing my mind I would have investigated the beautiful display of food.  We will be back and I will make note of the difference in the i.e.’s and the y’s and make the right move next time.4Q3B0170 copy

Even with all the frustration I am always glad I do stick my neck out for these kids, all 6 of them.  Growing up my parents took us to interesting places and I remember complaining about the heat and anything else I could think about complaining about but what I remember is, I was there.  I did that.  I hope my children remember the same.

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The rest of our week through my lens.

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Afternoons on the porch.

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Excursions to explore with my 2 youngest.  Their friendship makes me smile and I hope it continues to grow.

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New book ideas from my sister (the teacher) – Score!

 

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A summer evening celebrating this guy and his baseball career.

LOCAL FAMILIES!

I am offering the sweetest session to families locally in Chicago that would capture every day memories in your own homes.  My blog pushes me to capture the every day of my family and the images here are often my favorites!   I am discounting my session and offering a couple “Lifestyle Shoots” in the month of July only.  I will come to your house and capture your every day!  Eating breakfast.  Playing in the sprinkler.  Making smores.  Whatever your every day looks like.  I have a couple sessions left!  They are 300.00 and include 20-30 edited digital images.  Please email me at tkdriscoll2000@yahoo.com  I am only offering a total of 4 sessions and I have 2 left!  I look forward to capturing your “everyday”!

Happiest weekend!  More memories in the making.

OX Katie

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