Shout – Out to Ali and Jed!

Well, I have pretty fun siblings. I think that I have established that already. We were close growing up, and as we’ve gotten older, it’s been more fun to hang out and share memories with each other!

And a few weeks ago was no exception. While staying in Utah, I got to spend my time with Ali and Jed, staying at their apartment (I almost wrote house, but that would be an injustice to any future house they’d actually own, haha!). I was so happy to get to spend a lot of time hanging out with them, just enjoying my time there. Ali and I have a special relationship where we can joke about SO MANY different things and still are able to connect on a way deeper level as well. So whenever we’re together, it’s going to be a fun time. (Unless, of course, she’s in a bad mood. Boo for bad moods! Haha, just kiddin’ Al. You know I love ya!)

good company (click on the picture to see the supply list)

So anyways, we had a Saturday night where we got to go out to a Comedy Sportz club. Now, it’s not comedy about sports, necessarily, it’s an improv comedy club where the ‘sport’ is the comedy, ie: there are two teams that compete for points and the win at the end of the night.

I have to admit, at first I was skeptical about how funny it would be, but by the middle of the performance, Ali and I were yelling out sketch ideas and having a grand time. Jed really enjoyed it too!

We also had dinner at one of my favorite Provo hotspots – Smokehouse Barbeque! They have the best garlic knots. Yum.

So thanks, Ali and Jed for letting me hang out with you for a while! And Jed, I hope you didn’t get too many flying ant bites on my account. :)


Busy busy busy! And sick sick sick!

Man, I feel like the last 2 weeks have seriously FLOWN by! After getting home from Salt Lake on a Monday night, I had all the sorts of things of getting back from a trip like laundry, putting away luggage, laundry, organizing photos, laundry, getting our meal plan back together, and did I mention laundry? Geesh, it was just me and I still feel like I was doing tons of loads! (Or maybe that was because there wasn’t any laundry done while I was gone….who knows.)

So just when things started to finally get back on our ‘normal’ track, whatever that is, E got hit with a stomach virus. We’re pretty sure it was the flu because he got a fever, then diarrhea and then full-blown puking. He couldn’t eat anything without losing it all day Saturday and Sunday. I won’t gross you out with the details of the TWO times that he threw up in the car Saturday. Yeah, that was fun.



And then, of course, the hubby caught it and came home early on Monday from work. He was out for the count for the next two days, spending all his time in either the bed or the bathroom. Yeah, that was fun too.

So now (fingers, toes, earlobes crossed) we’re finally feeling better. E is pretty much over it, hubby went to work today a little weak but better, and W and I haven’t caught it. Just pray I don’t because I’ve got a big family shoot this weekend and I don’t want to miss it! But then again, getting everyone contaminated would be worse, so if I’m feeling the slightest bit sick, I’m not going to risk it. We’ll assess tomorrow.

Needless to say, we don’t have a lot of photos to share for the last week or so. But I want to start a “Week in the Life” series next week or so that captures our everyday happenings. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve been inspired by Ali Edwards’ series that she did this week (ours would not have been pretty if I had followed along, haha) and I’m hoping to get some fun shots of our lives. Including the tent that we currently have set up in our living room! And possibly a fixed dryer? Yeah, that would actually would be fun!


Happy Birthday Mama Llama!

Oh Martha...Oh Christmas!!

(Quick, what movie is that from? I'll mail a special treat to the first person to guess correctly!)

Anyways, that quote always makes me think of my mom for some reason. Probably because it's just another one of those HILARIOUS inside family jokes that no one else really gets besides us. And you know what? I totally love it that way.


And let's face it, most of those types of family bonding moments are instigated by the matriarch of the family, which in this case, is my wonderful, awesome, amazing, talented and now THIN mother, Becky. Because today she turns 29 {ahem} and we all want to help her celebrate!

(And no, I don't know what face I'm trying to make there. Obviously it's a photo FAIL.)

My mom is great. She loves with all of her heart, she gives so much to others, she enjoys the little things in life and has been a great example of creativity, tenacity, and strength to me in my life.


Growing up, my mom was always my 'home base' if you will. She was always my safe place. I knew that any problems I had could be solved by a hug from my mom. And even though there are now thousands of miles between us, I am still comforted by the fact that she is just a phone call away, able to help me solve my problems.


I love my mom so much and am so deeply thankful to my Heavenly Father for giving me her as my mother. I know I am lucky to have such a close relationship with her and I so cherish it.


I hope you have a wonderful super happy fun birthday Mom! Love you mucho!!

PS: Your present is on its way. And I know, most of these pics are not recent and therefore don't reflect your weight loss. We'll have to amend that situation in Dallas! :)


I Love to See the Temple!

On Monday, my last day in Salt Lake City, my Grams and I got to spend most of the day together, just hanging out, eating lunch, walking around and talking. And trust me, when I'm with my Grams, talking becomes a main event! She has a black belt in conversation.

So we went downtown to see Temple Square, to visit the new Deseret Book, to eat lunch at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and then look around the Family History Library. It was all so much fun! I hadn't been to downtown Salt Lake since my sister got married in '08, so it was fun to see it again. And oh my goodness, the blooming flowers going on were just breathtaking! I loved the gorgeous colors of the tulips that were absolutely everywhere!




And apparently I brought the nice weather and then took it home with me again because it was perfect while I was there and now it's a little less than perfect. Too much rain/snow/sleet for it to be called perfection. But never fear, Utahns, I'm sure it will be back to beautiful soon! :)

Also, I will have pictures to share from the wedding I did while I was out there (what, you didn't know this was all a business trip? ::wink::) that was so much fun. I had a lot of great things happen to me during this trip and I can't wait to share them!


I'm around, just not at home

I am alive, with no pictures to share just yet. That's what I get for leaving home without my computer and Photoshop! I would upload some unretouched versions of the ones I did last night, but I can't even convert them from RAW format yet. Boo.

I'm going to try something different once I get back to my sister's house and see if that will work. If not, you'll just have to be patient and see them on Tuesday morning! :)

And just for the record, the wedding was so beautiful, it went really well. The bride was stunning, her dress and accessories were just too cute. I loved getting to be a part of it.

So I'll be back on Monday night. I'll have lots of photos to share then. :)




As I previously mentioned, I'm going to be in Salt Lake this coming weekend (around Saturday the 17th) and have some spots available for family sessions, portraits, engagements, etc. I will only be in town for a few days, so if you've been looking for a chance to get some pictures taken, this is it!.

Just let me know!

And remember, the spring sale is still going on (for all sessions booked by April 30th) so it's definitely a deal worth taking!

Email me if you are interested (laurel@laurellakey.com).



Too Much Fear

You know, I really hate making mistakes. And I know that sounds preposterous because really, aren't we all just here in this world to make mistakes and to learn and to grow and to try new things?

In theory, yes. But in practice? I really hate making mistakes.

That is why it took me 2 years to decide to finally start my own photography business. I completely and utterly let my fear of failure control me and decide for me what direction my life would take. It's so frustrating to know that I could have spent all that time learning and growing as an 'official' photographer instead of worrying about being 'wrong' or not getting perfect images every single time.

Think of how much I could have accomplished if I had said, "You know what? I don't care! I am going to try these new things and I'm going to do it because I love it. And I love it because I'm getting better, not because I'm already perfect at it."

I really think I could have done a lot. Because instead of being paralyzed by the fear that things would not be up to my perfect standards, I would have been able to just create images, try new settings, learn about interacting better with subject. And all of these things, I realize, are things that I can't even try to perfect without doing. Imagine that!

I know that you have to practice to get better, and I have been doing that a lot. It's just that I took those practice times too seriously, let too much ride on them and didn't allow myself to be okay with starting out bad in order to get better.

So yeah, I'm trying to put that in the past and just do what I love -- take photographs. And I'm allowing myself to take bad photos in order to learn to take the great ones. And trust me, I have scores and scores of bad ones! I should do a post about that one day -- maybe it would take some of the pressure off or something, who knows.

What I do know is that I'm not doing this anymore. I'm tired of letting fear control my life. I'm done.

Anyone else in that same boat? What is it that you're letting fear hold you back from? Maybe it's time to just take the leap and DO IT! :)


Let there be GRASS!

It's amazing how SO VERY grateful you can be for something that you would just take for granted in normal circumstances. Case in point -- when we moved into our new house in November of '08, it had been vacant for at least 3 or 4 months, during the hot summer. That meant we didn't have a lawn, we had straw. And an ugly slope that the previous owner's dogs had torn up. Plus lots of trash and just old junk that they left behind.


(Here's the photo I took the first time I toured this house, complete with my assertions that we could work with it! And it IS big. The state of it was pretty sad then, but was REALLY sad when it stayed pretty much the same for a year and a half!)

Here's the before photo from a couple of weeks ago. We had taken out all the grass and removed all the old netting underneath.


We had a great gardener and his team come out and till everything, work on the slope, plant some trees, and put in new sod. And here she is now!!


I just can't believe the difference! It looks like an actual backyard now, one that if we had had it from the beginning, I know we wouldn't appreciate it nearly as much.

Here is the slope before (you can see we had taken out the grass, but some had started to grow back in because of all the rain we had gotten. Talk about counter-productive! :)


And here is the slope after, with the lemon, orange, avocado and pomegranate trees! They're little, yes, but they'll be great one day. We can't wait.


And once the kind of flowers we want are available, we're going to have some hanging flowers planted on the slope that will cascade over the wall, so that you can't see as much of the stone on the bottom. I love that it will be filled with color!

Now I'm happy that me and the boys can go outside and play like this:








Needless to say, we're stoked. We've been playing outside everyday since we got the go-ahead. And the boys are just in heaven. :)

Me too, kids. Me too.


Massive Update Ahead

Last week on April Fool's Day, I had my very own birthday! It was a fun day -- I was so excited that the hubby got to work from home and spend a good deal of the day with us. Then my bestest friend Summer came down to go to lunch with us at Ancho's! Really, what could be better?



After lunch, we came home and played a couple of rounds of Ticket to Ride. It's a fun game, even if I do get a little competitive when I play against the hubby!


Eli enjoyed 'helping' us play. :)

Then I got a great delivery from two of my sisters -- Ali and Emily. They sent me some beautiful tulips!



They sure brightened up my day! And speaking of wonderful sisters, Emily wrote a very sweet (and in my opinion, way too nice) blog post about me for my b-day. Of course, it made me cry, because I'm a sap. Thank you Em, you're too sweet!

One of the most surprising things to happen that day was when I received my Peeps Banner that I had won from the awesome Made blog! I got it on my birthday, which was such a fun surprise! And I think it looked adorable above my sink for Easter. Made me happy to see it while toiling away at the dishes. :)

All in all, I had a wonderful birthday with lots of well-wishes from dear friends, attention from my kiddos and husband, and a great sense that I am loved. It was awesome.

So of course, later that weekend was Easter, and the boys had a great time hunting for eggs at my in-laws' house. It was W's first real hunt that he could participate in, and he got the hang of it real quick! He loved picking up the eggs and putting them into his bucket. He would have been satisfied with that until he saw E open one of the eggs and realized there was stuff in them! Then he spent the rest of the time on the grass eating chocolate and candy. Love.











After the boys got home, we confiscated their winnings (once they got their fill) and we've still got lots left! The rest may just have to get 'lost' one of these days, since Grandma brought over more the next day! So we're set for candy for a long while. :)

Then on Conference Sunday between sessions, we dyed some Easter eggs, which was so fun. Of course, I didn't take any pictures. I manage to document the important stuff, like flour all over the kitchen, but not this trivial event (oops, is my sarcasm showing?). Ah well, it happens. Just imagine it yourself...I'll wait.

Also, we've been having this amazing weather lately! The other day it was cloudy and dark in the morning, rained for a little while, and then in the afternoon we had the most amazing blue skies! The rain cleared out all the smog (yuck!) and we were left with this:



Seriously gorgeous. I wanted to just lay out in the grass and let the breeze carry me away. (And don't worry, I was stopped at the red light when I took that picture, no shooting and driving, peeps!)



And then, of course, I've been having lots of fun with these two little munchkins. Love!

That's it for now! Stay tuned tomorrow for our great before/after reveal of our newly finished backyard! It's seriously the coolest transformation ever! (But that may just be because we've been living with dirt in the backyard for a year and a half....)

Catch you on the flip side!