I shot my best friend...


...and she turned out GORGEOUS!


Seriously, Summer, I will let you be my model any day of the week. Thank you SO MUCH for your help and willingness to drive so far down to the OC. You were a trooper.


And a HUGE thank you to you,
Jessica, for taking the time to shoot with me and help me out with lots of great information. I had such a fun time.


And guess what, peeps? I'm currently in the process of building up my portfolio, so if you're looking for family portraits, headshots, engagements, whatever, it is your chance to get my services for a smokin' hot deal! So email me (laurel.lakey@gmail.com) if you are interested or would like to know more. I will travel anywhere in Orange or Riverside counties for free, along with any other location for a travel fee.



Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my bestest mom in the whole world's BIRTHDAY!!

(and I won't even pretend to tell you how old she is because that's mean. heehee.)

Here is a top ten list of reasons why I love my mom (in no particular order):

1. She has always been my sounding board. Growing up, she was always there to talk when I needed it or if I wanted to run something by her -- she would always have time for me. Now granted, sometimes that meant I sat and talked to her while she was in the bathroom, but she still would listen. LOL. :)

2. I get my creativity from my mom -- she is so right-brained and I love that about her. Ever since I was little, she has always been creating things from crafts to woodworking to painting to baking and cooking. She loves creating and I am glad to have been bitten by that creative bug.

3. She knows her way around the internet! Hahaha, when some peoples' moms can't yet send email, my mom is up and running her own successful eBay business, and even writing her own blog (well, sort of. having two posts counts, right?) LOL.

4. Mom loves black licorice. Gross. But she loves it, so I love that about her. :)

5. She has a beautiful singing voice that I love to listen to. We have an old videotape of her singing with someone in a past ward (I was tiny) and I love listening to it. She knows how to harmonize like nobody's business and I grew up listening to the harmonies on the radio because of her. I love picking those out because it actually reminds me of my mom when I sing them in the car.

6. Mom knows how to find a bargain, whether it be somewhere nice like Chicco's or Goodwill. She will go to almost any length for a deal! :)

7. Mom knows how to laugh and get us all laughing. It's hard for me to remember better times in my childhood/teenhood than sitting with my mom and sisters, absolutely peeing my pants because we were laughing so hard. We have the best inside jokes and I fiercely cherish those times, especially since we live so far apart that they don't happen nearly often enough.

8. My mom is an amazing Nana. She takes this job of caring for her grandkids very seriously (or not so seriously, depending on how you look at it) and is awesome at it. I know she makes our Nana (my mom's grandma) proud.

9. My mom has so much conviction in her belief in Jesus Christ. It's definitely a palpable thing, her faith. For awhile I used it as a light to help grow my own testimony, and I know that I am forever blessed because I had a mother who showed me this truth. (And of course a father who did as well, but it's not dad's birthday today, so I won't go into that, lol.)

10. And last, but not least, my mom is such a great friend. Plain and simple, she will do anything in her power to help others and make them happy, in a good way. :)

Mom, I love you and even though I'm not there to help you celebrate today, I still hope you have a wonderful birthday!

(That just means we'll have to tear it up while I'm there next month! Woot!! And Ali, that means you have to come out and join us. It won't be the same without you! :) )


I love to see the temple


Yesterday we hopped in the car and drove down to San Diego for the afternoon. I wanted to take some photos of the San Diego temple during a beautiful day and it certainly fit the bill! This is the temple that Nathan and I were married in, so of course it's special to us.


Eli enjoyed running around the grounds and kept asking if he could climb to the top of the "gospel" (spires? steeples? I couldn't figure out what he was trying to say). He also got a kick out of the Moroni statue at the top. It was fun to talk about the temple and how pretty it was and everything with him.


West enjoyed chilling in the stroller and soaking up a little bit of sun. Truth be told, I think he enjoyed getting his diaper changed more. It was a long car ride. :)

There is nothing like being there at the temple, even if you don't go inside. Just the Spirit that is there on the grounds is so calming and peaceful. I definitely enjoyed our little jaunt and hope to get to do it again sometime.


Fun photo break

Eli and I went outside yesterday to work on some backlighting techniques. I'm trying to get that sunflare thing going. :)







And my favorite:


I know my logos are all over the place in terms of size and placement. I'm figuring out a system that will work for me. In the meantime, they're a little disheveled. :)


Weekend Update

New haircut

I got my hair cut on Saturday! It's been a while. Since October, to be exact. So yeah, I had it coming. The girl I went to was really sweet and knew just what I wanted. It's so nice to get some time to myself to just sit and not have to worry about anything while someone makes me beautiful. :) So thanks for watching the kids for me, honey! I am glad I went.

Easter was so nice. We had Nathan's dad over for the morning to come to church with us, since Lori (Nathan's mom) was out of town. He brought Eli a big Easter basket, which to Eli's dismay, we said he couldn't open until after church. What a mean mom, right? :) I mean, why can't I let him get into all that chocolate and ruin his khaki pants, white shirt, and vest right before church? Ah well, we survived the sadness. ;)

Church was so great, I just love Easter Sundays. Our sacrament meeting actually went until almost 35 after! The bishop was so funny, he just kept asking people to bear their testimony of the Youth Conference that had happened a couple of weeks before, and then continued with all the musical numbers and speakers. Needless to say, Eli was ready to be done and go to Nursery. I couldn't blame him either. It was a long sacrament meeting. But luckily for Sunday school we just watched the "To This End Was I Born" video, the shortened version. I cannot watch that video without shedding tears, it's just impossible. And couple that with Elder Holland's talk during General Conference that I just keep visiting in my mind, and it was a lot of tears. But all for good reasons.

I am so thankful that Jesus Christ died for me so that I can return to live with Him and Heavenly Father again someday. I know that I would be lost without that knowledge -- for what would be the point? We all sin, we all do things that we know are wrong sometimes, and we all need a way to repent of those things and be able to return to the presence of God. And Jesus Christ is the one who made that all possible. He put it all on the line. For me. What am I doing to make that sacrifice worthy of something? Am I making it worse by sinning more? How am I showing gratitude to my Savior for this immeasurable act? These things and a lot more have been rolling around in my head lately, and while I don't have perfect answers to these questions, I do have a renewed sense of purpose and hope to do things better in my life. And for that, I'm grateful.

The boys

And this is the reason for it all -- my family. I'm so grateful to have these boys in my life. What would I do without my men? :) They sure keep me on my toes, but they also know how to show such love. I am so blessed and grateful.


200th Post!

Wow, I've had this blog for over 2 and a half years. In October it will be three. I can't believe it's been that long! And in all that time I've only made 200 posts. I guess I don't have that much to say. Or more likely, I have a lot to say, but no time to say it. :)

In honor of this historic 200th post, I'm going to share with you my latest fun hobby. I was inspired by Mandy to create a stuffed owl from Syndee's embellishment set. I admit, it was a direct copy, but it's because I just wanted to try my hand at it and see how I could do. So here is my owl and my hedgehog. I'm actually quite proud of them, since I've never sewn anything like this before and I'm so glad I'm actually using my sewing machine! Makes me feel less guilty for having one, lol. :) What do you think, are they cute or what??





Okay, so I realize that neither of them have any feet. That will be on my next round to attempt. :)

The other day we got a package from my mom (Nana to my kids), and in it was a Curious George stuffed animal for Eli and a Curious George book, along with some good candies. This kid loves Curious George, so he was really excited. He kept saying, "My George! It's my George, Mama!" So cute. Here are some pictures, mostly for my mom's benefit, LOL. Thanks Nana! We love you and miss you too! :)

Thanks Nana2

Thanks Nana3

Thanks Nana1

On a health note, yesterday Jillian Michaels kicked my butt. And boy, do I deserve it! While I was very good with my weight gain during this second pregnancy, I have not really gotten too much of it off. Couple that with the fact that I was already overweight when I got pregnant, and now I have a ways to go before I'm happy with it. So, that's why I deserved to be kicked in the butt by Jillian. Anyone who is looking for a good, quick workout DVD -- check it out, I recommend it.


Good day so far...

Here's hoping it will continue into this afternoon. (Now I realize some of you are on the East coast, which means it's more like this evening, but us West coasters still have half the day left!)

Worked out today. Got that post-workout high and that's a good feeling.

Need to remember that I can do this every day, I just need to make time. Didn't do that yesterday, and of course, now I wish that I had.

But staying positive -- I worked out today. And I'm going to make some layouts, work on a secret project, and play chase with my kiddo. Big plans, I know.

On a separate note, we got the cutest package from a great friend at ScrapGirls today. Thank you so much, Kim, for the adorable outfit for West (complete with shoes!) and the cutest little hat. I'll definitely be taking pictures of this when I get him in it. Eli was so excited to show me the package (Nathan discovered it on his way out the door for work) and kept saying, "Mama, it has your name on it! It says, 'Ma - ma'!" Oh goodness, that made me feel old -- I'm no longer Laurel, I'm just Mama. I suppose I should have realized that already, but this morning it was just a mini epiphany. And it was hilarious. :)

And randomly...

Family at Newport

Eli and Renee

Julee, Eli and Renee

Diggin' in the sand

I've had these photos from Newport Beach when Renee, Julee, and Aubree came to visit, sitting on my hard drive, untouched since the day I uploaded them back in February. I'm sure there are more to show off, I just haven't gotten to them yet, but thought that I'd put this one up as a reminder of the great summer days that are coming! We love the beach! :)


Weekly Roundup

GOSH, I have so much to post about and so little time to do it! But I'll give it a try...

First of all, my birthday was this week and I had a GREAT week, thanks to so many Facebook posts and eCards and regularly mailed cards and photography book gifts and little notes here and there. I also got to eat lunch out with my girlfriends from Mission Viejo, whom I love to pieces. Then, as if that weren't enough, I got to eat at Ancho's twice in one week! Now that's what I call some homemade tortilla goodness right there.

Thank you so much to everyone who made turning 26 so special. (On a side note -- 26?? Are you kidding me?? I don't feel a day over 21! I guess that's how it happens -- the older you get, the faster it accelerates. Ah well.) And thanks to my hubby for 'helping' Eli to get me a Phineas and Ferb DVD that has my favorite episode on it! And it's okay that it wasn't Twilight. ;) You're the best, my love!

Here are some random photos from this week, in no particular order...


My sister gave me a cool photography book for my birthday, and it has really gotten me to understand shooting in Manual mode. I had been making it so much harder in my mind than it needed to be! I finally 'get' it now, and so this was one of the shots I tried. Eli wouldn't give me the best silhouette, but it works for what I was trying to do. These are our curtains in our living room. I think it turned out cool.


Here's West giving you some knucks. He's pretty hard-core, like his older, more wise and mature friend Corr.


Here's Eli being himself. :)


And here he is in rare form -- sitting on a chair, looking up at my camera, smiling. Seriously, take a good look because this NEVER happens! :)


A rare photo of me and the little munchkin. He's such a sweet baby, I just can't get enough cuddles with him!


We went and got some Baskin Robbins for my birthday on Wednesday. It was a fun family night.


And this is a picture that warms my heart -- seeing my two little guys together, lovin' each other. (Pay no attention to the scared look on West's face, he was loving it, LOL!) It's funny how different they look, and yet how similar as well. West looks just like Eli did when he was that age, only darker. To me, that's pretty cool. :)

And on a different note, I have started working out again, so I thought I'd post about it here to make sure that I keep up with it and have you all to be accountable to! I'm also trying to cut back on my sugar consumption. I can admit it, I'm addicted to sugar. I'm working on it. The turning point that tipped me over the edge? Seeing a photo of myself with my friend from Wednesday. Shocking. And no, I will not be posting it. ;) So wish me luck, say a prayer, or send good vibes to me -- whatever works! I am going to get healthier. :)

That's about it! Thanks for catching up with us, peeps!