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The Gerbers

Posted in FriendsPhotography

What a delight it was to photograph this beautiful family. I couldn’t agree more that Evelyn, at six months, is, as her daddy says, “sweetness and light.” And, oh, those precious eyes, I’ve literally dreamed about them. I love the way these three interact—so much joy in just being together.








Clara and Her Brothers

Posted in Clara MeiIan CliffordLife @ The GrandSimon Wesley

Clara and her brother

As I was making lunch today, I heard Simon singing a song. The words were pretty simple, “Clara and her brother, Clara and her brother, Clara and her brother.” I peeked into the living room just as Ian was adding his “harmony”: “Dara and he bru-vah, Dara and he bru-vah, Dara and he bru-vah.” Ian’s part also had that sweet toddler vibrato and Doppler effect that comes from running and singing at the same time.

They’ve moved on. Clara’s down for a nap, and the boys are tigers eating their rice balls, which they are pretending are meat. Their sweet song, though, is a little bit stuck in my head and forever stuck in my heart.

The Siscos

Posted in FriendsPhotography

Earlier this week, I had the great privilege of spending some time with my good friends the Siscos and photographing them. We started out at Mahoney and then moseyed on to beautiful downtown Ashland (I’m not being sarcastic; it is a charming little town, and the light was so much fun). I had such a good time, and there were several times that I had to remind myself that we weren’t simply hanging out. Those boys have my heart, and I am thankful for this dear family.













Ing: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Posted in Ing


Yesterday was the first day of fall, or, as my friend Sarah says, “The Farthest Away Summer Can Be.” Sarah and I are kindred weather spirits. Fall feels like a fresh start for me; it’s consistently the time of year when I am most inspired, most motivated, and most energetic (emotionally, physically, mentally). I’ve got big plans, folks, so here’s a peek at some of what is happening with me.

Blogging again. I have set myself some goals for this blog, for Needs More Butter, for Pictychy, and even for our Flickr photo stream. The video card in my laptop died, so I have had limited time on the computer. I’ve had to use Jason’s desktop, which is inconvenient in many ways, but I want to figure out how to make it work; I’ve been missing the creative outlet. (I haven’t, however, been missing having hours and hours sucked away by Facebook and Pinterest.)

Budgeting, and looking for ways to save money. I have never been terribly good at knowing what’s going on with finances—it has always seemed rather over my head and scary. But we’ve got a good plan in place right now, and I’m actually rather energized by the challenge of where we can overall live more simply and purposefully.

Walking every weekday morning at 6 am with Joie. This new habit has untold numbers of benefits, and so far the only downside that I see is that I’m half asleep by 9:30 every night.
Cooking and eating whole foods as much as I possibly can. I am excited to start the Whole Food Kitchen online workshop by Heather of Beauty That Moves. I signed up with my friend Shelli, who has taken the workshop once before and had such a good experience that she’s giving it another go. I will say that I enjoy the benefits of whole foods—I feel good about eating this way, and it is the way that I want to feed my family. But, oh! the work! It’s a ton of work, and sometimes I just want to go eat French fries for lunch.

Reading The Artist’s Way (again and still), My Life in France (still), and The Praying Life (first time).

Displaying some photographs at Redeemer. I’m not sure what it will all look like exactly, but a couple of people at church had the idea to exhibit work by the church’s many artists, and it will be an ever-changing gallery-ish idea. Anyway, this month, I will have a few photos up, alongside work by Rebecca Tredway, Jen Hinrichs, and Matt Cranford. Fun, right?

Planning some Halloween costumes for the kiddos. I want to be ahead of the game this year. So far my planning has involved a trip to Once Upon a Child to scout out footie pajamas and to the dollar store to price sponges. Start guessing!

Catching up with photos and hopefully some words to remember our recent stay/vacation (not really a staycation proper, but we didn’t go far; it was kind of a hybrid). Again, my computer being down for the count has stifled my on-top-of-it-ness.

Enjoying what a difference a year has made in Simon’s willingness to go to preschool (pre-Kindergarten, actually) and to other various not-with-me places, whether Children’s Church or Awana or the nursery for my weekly morning Bible study. He is just such a big kid about it. Most pre-K mornings he says something like, “I don’t really want to go to school today. But I will.” We’ve had no drop-off tears at all, and it’s such a relief. Clara on the other hand . . . ay yi yi with the separation anxiety and the stranger anxiety!

Toying with the idea of homeschooling—almost definitely not officially, at least not when they are all so little. But I am reading a ton about it and really wanting to be more deliberate about the time I spend at home with my kids. Just thinking through what school will look like for our family.

Drinking in this gorgeous weather, but most likely skipping the Pumpkin Spice Lattes this year (see above “budgeting” and “eating whole foods”). No worries, I am finding plenty of ways to savor the season.

Mad Scientists

Posted in Ian CliffordLife @ The GrandSimon Wesley

This morning we tried an experiment: what happens when you mix baking soda with vinegar (and food coloring)?


An explosion! according to Ian.


The boys mixed and played for nearly two hours. Mommy bliss (and kid bliss too, actually). We learned a few things along the way as well:

* “Winegar smells kinda yucky.”
* Baking soda tastes “not too good.”
* You can’t actually get your hands clean by washing them in the colored vinegar.

Mad scientist


blue hands




Perhaps most important, we learned that it’s almost as much fun to play with un-colored vinegar as with the colored stuff. Yeah, I hadn’t totally thought that through. But all was not lost! As it happens, the very thing that made the mess was the solution to it as well. I told the boys that when they were done, they could scrub the table with their mixture, which, of course, was a win win: the stain came off the table and the boys were busy and happy for an additional twenty minutes at least.

The Way I See It

Posted in Life @ The GrandPhotographySimon Wesley


I was quickly running out of ideas for our impromptu scavenger hunt. I had already sent Simon (and, in theory, Ian) to bring me back a stick as long as my hand, a green leaf, a brown leaf, a rock, a yellow flower, a blade of grass. Simon suggested a red flower, but I realized the only red flowers in sight were not for picking. And in a flash of foolishness? brilliance? a little from column A, a little from column B? I gave Simon my iPhone and sent him to take a picture of the red flowers. He came back absolutely beaming, and with a decent shot to boot.

He spent the next 15 minutes or so eagerly running off to take a picture of this and that and coming back after each picture to show me what he had seen. We could have continued, but then he wanted to play fireman, and, well, that’s fun too.

Later that evening, Jason and I were struggling for sanity with forty-five minutes or so to go before bedtime. The light was softening, the shadows were just beginning to lengthen, and I wanted nothing more than to grab my camera and escape for a walk. And again the same flash of foolishness or brilliance hit me: I did grab my camera, but I also handed Simon my iPhone, and I and the boys headed to the park to take pictures. In theory, we took pictures of the same things (we took turns picking the subject), but as you can imagine, our perspectives are quite different. I hope that this will be just the first of many times we take our cameras out together (and, in fact, we did go out the next morning as well). I think it will be a great time to push myself creatively and also to challenge myself technically—to use my camera on manual mode, for example.

In the midst of this, I remembered a long-neglected blog I started a year or so ago: Pictychy. I re-read the About page and realized that, yeah, I still want to do that. So, I’ll be posting some of my favorites over there. Check back or add it to your RSS feed to see what we’re up to. 

Renae Morehead

My name is Renae, and The Grand is where I keep thoughts, observations, and photos from my life.


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