Sunflower Fields Kansas City Photographer

Sunflower Fields Forever

There is a little spot in the Kansas City area that is completely breathtaking for a few weeks in the late summer and early fall. This amazing sunflower field west of the city blooms every year for about two weeks, and provides gorgeous views that evoke everything I love about living in Kansas. It’s picture perfect, and I knew we had to see it for ourselves!

Sunflower Fields Kansas City Photographer

Now, I’m not gonna lie…the kids were a little underwhelmed with the whole idea of driving out to a field in the middle of nowhere. At this point, they are used to my crazy antics, so they don’t ask too many questions, but after a long day of school and activities, they were more excited to get home to their toys and games than to frolic around in a sunflower field. But as soon as we pulled up, their jaws dropped and their eyes brightened.

Sunflower Fields Kansas City Photographer

They ran through the sunflowers together, playing hide and seek with a few other kids who they found deep within the field. I found myself yelling for them to stay close…the sunflowers were almost taller than me, and I kept losing them within the green stalks. Tate would pop out from behind me, yelling “I’m right here mama, ‘es okay!” I heard Lulu giggle as she attempted to hide, shaking the flowers above her head, giving away her precious secret spot.

Sunflower Fields Kansas City Photographer

As I snapped away at the endless rows of yellow, Tate asked to borrow my phone so he could take some photos of his own. When I was finished, Lucy climbed up on the step ladder I had brought along, and framed her scene. It was so amazing watching them mimic my mannerisms, leaning down, looking for different angles, biting their lips as they shot image after image. Sometimes I forget they are watching when I’m working…I don’t remember that the things I do will be burned in their memories forever. They may not remember exact details, but they will bite their lip as they shoot an image, and that comes from me. They may grimace when I ask them if I can shoot some photos of them, but they smile and squeal with glee when I let them shoot images of me. They can tell I love what I do, and it’s such a privilege for me to get to show them what passion, drive and hard work looks like.

Sunflower Fields Kansas City Photographer

This amazing location will only be in bloom for a few weeks, so if you are interested in booking your photo session with this incredible background, please contact me ASAP at!


Lucy Pool May272015

So far, our summer has been pretty wonderful! This week I’ve taken a bit of time off (which as a freelancer means “I’m working from dusk until the kids wake up and then again when they are in bed until midnight!”) to enjoy the first few days of their school break with Lulu and Tate. I am thrilled that next week a new babysitter will be joining our little crew to help us get through the rest of summer with minimal work/life breakdowns. But until then, I power the computer down around 8:30 a.m. and we spend the day reading, watching movies, hanging out with friends and, of course, swimming. Now, the weather in Kansas City isn’t exactly pool weather yet, but my little fishes could care less! We are lucky to belong to a gym with a heated outdoor swimming pool, so we’ve been there every day this week. Tate is so much more independent this year, going down the slides like a big kid and refusing to wear floaties or play in the shallow end. He’s already serving as a bit of a mascot for the lifeguard crew, who know him by name and graciously chat with him as he asks them a million questions daily. From the moment we arrive at the pool, Lulu disappears and I usually don’t see her again until she starts to get hungry. Today Lulu said, “Mom, I love summer. I could swim every day forever.” I hear ya, sister. Me too.

Tate Swimming Memorial Day

On Messing Up and Finding Joy


Yesterday I messed up.

Every other Tuesday, Tate and I pack ourselves up after we take Lucy to school and we head to what Tate calls “playgroup.” Actually, it’s a moms group that I joined this year, which meets twice monthly to learn from each other and from experts on this strange phenomenon called parenting. We’ve had speakers ranging from brain scientists to school superintendents, and I truly value these meetings, not only for the learning that occurs, but the fellowship. There is something awesome about getting a bunch of moms together in one room and admitting we are all just trying to figure this thing out. While I’m in class, Tate goes to a fun playroom for an hour or two, and he loves it. “Playgroup” days are some of his favorite days.

Anyway, with the holidays and whatnot, our schedule is a bit off and we haven’t had “playgroup” in over a month. For whatever reason, I had it in my head that this Tuesday was our first meeting of 2015, so after Lulu was at school, I got us all packed and pumped up for a fun morning at “playgroup.”

I signed Tate in using the computer at the childcare entrance, and that’s when I noticed things were off. We saw his teacher from school, who was meeting with her group that day, and we both remarked how funny it was that we had never seen each other there before (ahem, because she goes to a different group on a different day…). When I checked Tate in, the childcare people couldn’t find him on the roster, but I assumed it was because he had a birthday and would now be in a different room. The leader kindly said, “Are you sure you have the right day? Sometimes the schedules get mixed up after the holidays.” Of course I had the right day! Right? Hmmm.

After I dropped Tate off I started to question myself. And sure enough, when I checked my calendar, I had the wrong day. I was off by a week. So I had to embarrassingly go back to childcare and admit my mistake, then make my super-confused 4-year-old leave the “playgroup” where he was having a blast. “Mama! Why? We just got here! I want to go to playgroup!!!” He cried and pleaded, and the teachers kindly told me this happens all the time, but I was beating myself up. How could I not check my calendar? God, I’m an idiot! What must Tate’s teacher think? This is the same one that had to deal with him when I “forgot” about the Halloween party and he was the only kid not in a costume, crying about missing out on the fun. She must think I’m such a dope.

We left and were headed home, when I saw the beautiful, colored glass of the new natural history museum on the side of the road. I pulled a u-turn and headed into the empty parking lot. We’d been meaning to visit, but since it’s a new facility, it’s been pretty crowded, and I had been warned it wasn’t worth the wait in line. But on this day, a random, cold Tuesday morning in January, the parking lot was empty. I asked Tate if he wanted to go in and he wiped his tears. For $15, we had the entire museum to ourselves. I watched my son learn and grow, delighted with the exhibits and the discovery center. The sweet ladies working there catered to his every need, letting him hold animals and helping him create constellations in the astronomy room. It was an unforgettable morning.

When I first started staying at home more with my kids, I made time for these kinds of experiences. I still do, but lately I’ve found myself a slave to my overscheduling. Starting my new business venture means many times when I’m home with the kids, I’d rather let them watch some cartoons while I get some work done. I have errands to run and calls to make, and sometimes my kids end up an afterthought. I haven’t been practicing my greatest role, being a teacher and a mother to them. That’s the whole reason for all of this madness in the first place. Sure, I want to have a fulfilling career, but I also want to be able to spend more time with my kids.


Had I checked my calendar that morning, and realized we had nothing planned, I’m sorry to say Tate probably would’ve ended up watching the iPad and then going to the grocery store or on another errand with me. The day would’ve quickly gone by without much time for fun. But instead, I made a mistake, and we ended up spending the morning as paleontologists, astronomers and biologists. Mistakes breed wonder, especially when we’re not expecting it. So instead of beating myself up, I’m forgiving myself for my mistake and finding joy in the journey we end up taking when we don’t realize where we are going.

{All images taken with the iPhone 6 and edited in the Afterlight app}

Four Years Old

Blowing out four candles like a boss! A great way to end the big 4th birthday! #birthday #tate #candles #love #four

Dear Tater Tot,

This weekend you turned four years old. When you woke up and I announced you were no longer three, you immediately burst into tears and informed me you WERE three and you didn’t want to be FOUR. I’m happy to report by the end of the day, four was totally cool and awesome, and you’d left three in the dust, with barely a passing wave. You’re like me in that way, buddy. Change scares the poo out of your mama, I don’t like it and I rail against it until I’m overtaken. Then I usually throw myself into it full force, no holds barred. When you realized four was truly happening, you seemed to say, “Welp, I guess that’s that! Let’s do this thing!”

Irreverent hipster hats on 3-year-old's are my jam. Tate's jam is IKEA ice cream, obviously. #dude #gapkids #ootd #kidstyle

Tate is pro-pools in the fall/winter and anti-naps ????

In the last year, you’ve begun to grow into a spunky, little boy who keeps everyone on their toes. But somewhere between three and three and a half, your humor really began to shine. I’m not gonna lie, buddy, before that, I was a little worried I was going to be exhausted forever. You hadn’t been sleeping well, you were crabby on a near constant basis and you were ornery as all get out. I found my days with you feeling more and more like battles, and neither of us was winning. But one day it was like you flipped the switch, and since then we’ve both been much happier. It was a good reminder for me, that nothing lasts forever. When I start to get frustrated with your strong will, I remind myself of this. All I need to do is a wait awhile, and issues that I assumed would be never-ending….wait for it….end.

Sunday reads continued (bedtime edition)... ?????????? #reading #winter #fire #warm #love

You laugh is loud and long. You don’t do anything small, Tater, everything is BIG BIG BIG! This was the year you started some of your own activities, which thrilled you. The past few years you life and schedule has been dictated by your big sister’s life. You’ve tagged along to her sports and classes for years, but now it’s your turn. You started preschool in the fall, and you are thriving. You love coming home and telling us about your friends and adventures, and your face lights up when you see your own artwork hanging on the fridge. You’ve also started playing a few recreational sports, like soccer and gymnastics, which is fun for you and us, because watching you compete is hilarious. Nothing is better than hearing you shout “I GOALED!” when you score at soccer and then watching you do a little celebration dance.

First game, first goal, first celebration! Tate has entered the soccer world ???? #soccer #firstgame #celebrate #goal

Trying to soak up the last bit of fall before we get smacked with old man winter next week! #bike #fal #fun

I’m so proud of the little man you are, Tate, and I’m so grateful to be your mama. Thank you for all the big hugs, cuddles, and love this past year. Thanks for always forgiving me when I mess up, and telling me I’m a good mama anyway. You’re the best son a mother could hope for. I love you, pumpkin nose.



Merry, Bright


Oh hey there! It’s just me, lounging in front of my Christmas tree, taking selfies in my new sweater that I’ve literally worn, like five out of the last seven days. In my defense, I am officially a real, live blogger now and it’s a super cute sweater, so I couldn’t really help myself. I think it’s in the blogger code that you MUST take selfies in front of twinkle lights in cute new sweaters or they will expel you from the union.

In other news, you’re probably wondering why I’m just now saying I’m a real, live blogger since I’ve been doing this for over 10 years. Well, long story short, this is my job now. My entire job, not my part time job or my fun side project…it’s the real deal! Earlier this week Crazybananas, LLC became an actual company with a tax ID and everything! On January 1st, 2015, this blog, my photography and my freelance writing will be my profession. Try explaining that one! Seriously, try. And if you figure out how to do it without sounding like a derpy dope, let me know. So far most of my conversations have gone like this:

Me: I created a company this week! Ahhhh! I’m so excited/terrified!

Kind, Inquiring Person: Oh, cool! So what is this company? What do you do?

Me: Um, well, a lot of things actually. I’m a writer, I freelance write and I also photograph people sometimes and I design stuff. Oh and consulting! Companies come to me to learn about how to work with bloggers. And stuff. It’s pretty varied actually…

Kind, Inquring Person: *blink blink blink*

I feel like something extremely big and important is happening in my professional like, one of those “two paths diverged in a wood” moments, but I’m realizing you never understand those moments until you’re looking back on them. While you’re actually living them, all you can do is keep swimming and try to keep your head above water. So for now, I’m going to do my best to put one foot in front of the other, breathe, and do the best I can.

Thank you so much, so, so much, for all of the love, support, comments, shares and insights. I know I wouldn’t have kept blogging without readers to connect with, so you are the ones I’m grateful for today.

Of course, I’m also extremely thankful for my family who has supported me as I worked my way through this decision. It hasn’t been easy, but here we are, and I know they are behind me. Our life is far from perfect, but I really believe as long as we keep trying, it will keep getting better. So for the rest of December, I’m signing off. There are two little people who need me to take them ice skating, a giant puppy who needs to hop through the snow like a bunny, and a husband to snuggle up to. Leading up to this big change, I’ve been working on overload, and they’ve born the brunt of my crazy. I know that doing this thing will require a whole new type of work ethic, and while I’m excited and ready, I want to make sure I start with my family’s tank full to the brim. I also need my tank to be filled, and part of the reason I’ve worked toward this change for so long, is because I believe it’s the best way to do this. The family/work balance will forever be a tightrope walk for me, but I think this is one step closer to getting my feet firmly planted.

Can't. Stop. Baking. This is getting ridiculous. BUT! If you're like me and you're bad at housewifery-type stuff like baking, and you find a technique that works, you go bananas! ???? Plus, Tate was begging for trains/cars/planes for his bday party on

I hope you all have an amazing holiday! I challenge you to list out 10 things you are grateful for every night before you drift off to sleep. This simple practice has changed my life in every possible way. I have found when I’m looking for the good things in my life, no matter how small, the bad things have less oomph. They just don’t pack the punch they used to. So for today, I’m thankful for:

1. Tate’s successful birthday party
2. Little boys in superhero costumes in a pink, princess castle, bounce house (see #1)
3. Lucy getting through her first semester of third grade with no big problems or issues
4. Teachers who love and care for my kids
5. Other parents who love and care for my kids
6. The ability to help out others when they need it
7. My friend Mara who is currently loaning me the latest season of Doctor Who, which I’m watching while writing this (multi-tasking!)
8. The big, dumb dog snoozing at my feet
9. My husband’s distinguished, ginger beard
10. My fully completed holiday shopping, and the fact that I don’t have to go to the Mall until December 26th (thank freaking god!)

See you in a few weeks, friends! It’s gonna be a fun ride!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...