Welcome and thanks for visiting the DOK Photo blog! I'm a natural light photographer serving Moab, Utah, and specializing in newborn and child photography. This is where I post sneak peeks of recent sessions, my attempts at memory-keeping, and sources of inspiration.
Please feel free to contact me via the link below with any questions you may have!

Friday, July 18, 2014

letters to our sons | july 2014

One of the reasons I created a blog was to capture this time when my sons are young. So I’m excited to join a group of friends, moms, and fellow photographers as we share about the boys in our lives on the third Friday of each month. You can follow our blog circle to Lori Reed Asher of Dreamers Come In next, and continue all the way back here.

Almost all of these photos were taken on our iPad, because that’s just how we roll these days…I love them not for the quality of light or composition, but for the bit of our story they capture.

sean reading harry potter

Dear Sean,

These are not easy days. Good days, but not easy days. I know you tire of hearing me say, “We can do hard things.” I say it as much for myself as for you.

We are moving. Whenever I write these letters, I imagine you older, reading them perhaps after I’m gone. I wonder what your perspective on this big change will be in 30 years or so. Will all your memories of Moab be romanticized with nostalgia? Will you remember the layout of this house? Will you declare our move “the best thing that ever happened” or will you regret ever leaving?

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You are a happy guy. Like your mama, you are a sucker for a sad story, even a tad melodramatic, but you also love to laugh and make others laugh. Aidan challenged you to keep a straight face for the photo below---but three seconds was your limit.

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When we told you about your dad’s new job and the move, the first thing you asked was whether we would return once a month for your radio show. Obviously this was influenced by the fact that we had just returned home for your gig, but I still thought it endearing.

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When I asked what worries you had about the move, you replied that you make friends easily. I couldn’t understand, although I agreed that you do make friends oh so easily (my friend Kris recently joked that when she took you and your brothers to their neighborhood pool, they had to wait when leaving for you to say goodbye to all your new friends). “Why does making friends easily worry you?” I asked.

“Because I’ll make them quickly and won’t know which ones are real friends,” you replied, with concern in your voice. Sean, the fact that you know at age 9 that there is a difference between real friends and quick friends means you’re already wiser than most.

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Mother Teresa said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” (A line I first read at Momastery, and also my source for the mantra: We Can Do Hard Things).

Your dad and I have spent countless hours and conversations pondering whether this move is the right decision. Ultimately, I believe it will be up to each of us to make it the right decision. On our drive back from Flagstaff last week, after a much needed respite with your god-cousins, we were discussing the move and I was trying to explain this idea. I could barely hear you from the far back seat, your “bachelor pad” as we call it. You were quoting the little collage in our front entry way---the same frame I’ve been criticizing myself for not having updated in four years.

“Home is wherever we are together!” you proclaimed.

Right you are, my middlest. We’re moving, but we’re taking our home with us, so long as we never forget that we belong to each other.

More than all the stars,

Mom

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You can follow our blog circle to Lori Reed Asher of Dreamers Come In for the next letter to our sons, and continue all the way through the blog circle.




Monday, July 7, 2014

Golden Days Ahead

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We’re moving! It’s finally official. I posted on Facebook and Instagram about a week ago, and have tried to let people know in person, so if you’re just learning about it now, my apologies.

After months of limbo, not knowing if we are staying or going, I’m grateful just to finally know!

Brian has accepted a job offer from the U.S. Forest Service. He’s been running the Fuels program (fuels reduction =prescribed fire) for the BLM’s Moab district for ten years, and now will be managing the program for the Rocky Mountain region, which includes five different states.

A huge change, but one we are welcoming. I can’t even articulate why. On paper and in my head, it makes no sense. We love Moab. We have great friends and community here. Our next-door neighbor Carol is like an extra grandmother to the boys, as is our beloved Miss Bobbie. We love this house. While this job will be a promotion for Brian, even financially it makes sense to stay---we could have this house paid off before collage tuition bills start arriving, and Moab has a way of helping you save money merely by not having any stores. The nearest Target is 150 miles away.

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And yet…in our hearts and in our gut, it makes sense.

Our kids are young enough that the move won’t be brutal (though Aidan might disagree). With our youngest starting first grade, I’m eager for more opportunities to work. Brian has missed the trees and green of Oregon ever since we left. Lots more opportunities, more colleges, and a real airport nearby, something that’s become more important as our parents grow older. But the real reason for our YES to this opportunities doesn’t stem from any of those reasons but from an overall sense that we’re ready and this is the right offer.

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Almost 20 years ago, Brian and I spent weeks camping and driving through Montana and Wyoming in hopes of deciding where we would want to land after we finished our service in Russia. I had a panoramic photo we took on that trip of the Rocky Mountains in the background, a road in the foreground and the Colorado river between the two. We hung it on a wall in our little house in Selikhino, Russia and looked at it daily for those two years. Then it got packed away and forgotten while our work took us Oregon and then Utah.

Until now. I keep thinking about that photo and the forgotten wishes your heart makes that come back and surprise you.

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Image by the uber-talented Jake & Jamie Bartlett of A Pair of Pears, based on a quote from “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

Last month was the first time I have missed an entire month of blogging since restarting the site in 2011. I have multiple posts sitting in my draft folder, and I hope they don’t sit there until we are unpacked and settled in our new home---because I have no idea how long that might take! I’m so grateful to everyone who stops by our little corner of the web and I hope you’ll continue to accompany us on this next adventure.

Here’s to the unknown!




Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Summer & Book Bingo

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The last bell of the school year will be ringing here in just two more days.

Even though this is not a Facebook post, I’m sending you to Buzzfeed. Their comparison of Parents at the Beginning of the School Year vs. the End sums up how I’m feeling.

I can’t wait for summer, even if it does mean the end of time alone. Olaf and I have our own delusions about summer.

I don’t like the desert heat, I really dislike the unpredictable timing of solo-parenting during fire season, and I’ll miss time alone to get some work done.

Still, I love summer! My boys are home, and we can plan our days around Sean’s baseball games and trips to the library and swim lessons. We are keeping this summer purposefully simple. Here are the three things we’re trying:

1. I won’t be scheduling any more photography sessions this summer. Check back in September for a fun kick-off to a new season.

2. We detest book logs! Having to record something every time you read can turn one of our favorite activities into a chore. But the boys have always been intrigued by my Book BINGO (hat tip to my friend Lara Smith!) and have come up with their own version for the summer.

If you have an independent reader (maybe ages 8 to 14?), they are welcome to download our Book Bingo sheet here or sign up at the website Aidan and I have been working on: Summer Book Bingo

The site will likely go private on June 1st so kids have until then to sign up there.

3. Block-scheduling. We like structure (okay, I like structure), even if only to have a plan that we deviate from daily. We’re still working on putting together our summer bucket list and some parameters, like no screen time in the mornings.

In a few weeks I’ll update on how or whether we’ve found our groove. Meanwhile I’d love to hear your plans or outlines for summer with kids!

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Here’s to lots of books and popsicle sticks!




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