Golden Hour

9:14 AM Mallory Nicole 1 Comments

We happened to be on a walk during golden hour and took turns taking some photos. These were some favorites.

Watching this boy learn new things is so amazing! I can't imagine having to learn all that he is in such a short time!


Handsome Man

8:58 AM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

This man has gotten more handsome than the day we got married! He just keeps getting more and more handsome. You know how people say they love their spouse more everyday? Well, this has nothing to do with that. My love hasn't made me think he is more handsome. He just is. I'm a lucky gal!

Besides that, he is awesome, and I do love him more everyday.


Soren's Party

2:00 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

I decided a few weeks ago that I would not go crazy over Soren's first birthday. I kept it simple while honoring the year of survival the three of us went through. My friend Claire of Claire's Confections made a delicious cake for us. The inside of the cake was multicolored, but I did not manage to take a photo of that. I wanted a dinosaurs in hot air balloons theme, so I created some cake toppers. The balloon was drawn and water colored by me. I ordered some little dinosaurs to put in favor bags and used three for the cake toppers. I painted them gold, then drilled holes in them to stick skewers in. Then I made tiny bow ties and top hats out of construction paper.

Soren lived under the motto "it's my party and I'll cry if I want to," whenever we tried to take a photo of him in front of the backdrop I made. I never got a good photo of his bow tie.

The cupcake was devoured in a couple of minutes. It turns out, if you go the "baby led weaning" route, the 1 year old is quite skilled at eating and he certainly showcased that. I loved that he licked his fingers, then had a sugar daze of sorts, followed by a realization that he just had so much fun.

He received a lot of books for Soren's library and are so happy to have such a selection!


Soren Visits the Zoo

2:00 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

On Soren's birthday Daniel and I wanted time with just the three of us to open present, go to the zoo and try ice cream.

First he "opened" his present from us. This series of photos makes it seem as though he peeked into the bag and was really excited about what he got. In reality, he was playing with the bag and then started "singing." He never actually opened the present; the gift bag was far more exciting.

We enjoyed looking at the meerkats. One happened to sit right next to the glass so his first animal viewing was easy to see.

 Elephants were a pretty big hit. He actually laughed at them, and I could have stood there with him all day, but knowing our time was limited with good spirits, we moved on.

Since it's still in the 90s in October, we enjoyed the misting fans a lot. We probably got the most smiles out of him while at the fans. I love the way his hair flies!

He also enjoyed a few monkeys. I have ice cream tasting photos on my phone. But really the video captures the experience much better. He enjoyed his first taste of sugar and ate most of our ice cream. We let him since it was his birthday.



1:56 PM Mallory Nicole 1 Comments


Generosity has been on my mind a lot. There seems to be a tendency, especially in the media, to expect the rich 1% to give their money, because they have it. When you consider our lives compared to most of the world, we have it good, too. What can we give up to give to someone struggling?

Beyond money we have so many other things we can give: time, services, words. And words have been what I’ve been thinking about the most. It’s so easy to talk bad about someone or criticize, isn’t it? But our world is full of it. Why not compliment a stranger on an outfit? Or tell a friend that you are proud of them for something specific? Our world could use more kindness.

I’ve been trying to make an effort lately, but you know what stops me? Pride. I don’t want to be embarrassed, or for someone to think I am saying something for self-serving purposes. It doesn’t matter what other people think if my heart is in it, and really…it’s just a lousy excuse.

Look for ways to encourage people this week whether they are strangers, acquaintances or friends.


Happy First Birthday!

9:29 AM Mallory Nicole 2 Comments

One year. I have been reflecting on it for a few weeks now. He and I have changed so much. My arms don’t recognize how much he’s grown, having found their strength in his care. Not until I hold a small baby do I realize how much he has grown.

As I rocked him to sleep on his last night before he is one, I couldn’t help but reflect on all of our changes, and ponder our changes to come. While it has been a joy to watch my tiny, helpless baby turn into a toddler with preferences and desires, what I find more amazing is the complete change an adult can go through. I have found deep within me patience I did not know I had, love that can consume me, and a fierce amount of protection that scares me.
Everyday my love for this little boy grows, and I look forward to seeing its strength in each new year of his life.
Sweet sweet Soren, you make me a better person and I am so lucky to be your mama!


Dear Soren

12:07 PM Mallory Nicole 2 Comments

My little Soren,

I've been reflecting a lot lately as we near your first birthday. The hard years are coming. The years where we have to actually "parent." It won't be a matter of keeping you alive and healthy like this past year has been, but we will have to teach and discipline. As we teach you and prepare you for life there are things I hope you know:

• We love you always and forever. When we take things away from you, put you in time out, or scold you, it's because we love you. If we let you do what you want it would reflect how poorly we love you as we are not preparing you for life.

• Jesus loves you. Even more than we could. He will challenge you and bring you joy. You won't always be happy, and you certainly won't have the best the world has to offer you always, but you are loved overwhelmingly, fiercely and completely.

• You should never relish in someone else's pain. Whether or not they deserve it. Bullies, thieves, murderers. Justice is important, but Mercy is necessary.

• Working hard is MUCH more important than being smart. Natural talent does not reflect on the character and discipline of someone. If you work your hardest to get straight C's we'll know you are of strong quality and character.

• How you look is perfect because you were created individually. Just take care of your body, and be confident in that.

There are so many other things you need to know. I'm overwhelmed that we have to teach so much. Forgive us as we fail!

I love you so much!



Soren's Birthday Wishlist

1:17 PM Mallory Nicole 1 Comments

Soren is turning one in less than a month. I can't believe it! Here are a few things on his list:

1. Books - Stuck, This Moose Belongs to Me, and Dragons Love Tacos. I love well illustrated books so much. It's a bit selfish to put on his list, but someday he'll appreciate it. ;)

2. I just thought this was the cutest thing! You can get it at Zara.

3. This backpack is sooo cute! I'd love him walking around looking like a little dinosaur! I am secretly (not so anymore) hoping he gets really interested in dinosaurs.

4. In the Charlie and Lola books, Lola has an imaginary friend named Soren Lorensen. I grew up with an uncommon name, and it was SO exciting to have anything with my name in/on it. We know Soren will find little with his name on it, so this is perfect!

5. I love forts and tents so this one is so great to keep up.

6 and 7. More dinosaurs here and here.


3:37 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

A photo of him today. A typical site: hanging out the window and finding the smallest bits.


A Thank You Letter

1:21 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

Just a few of our visitors.

To my dear friends who are in a child-less stage of life,

Thank you! From the bottom of my heart I thank you! You have made this time of my life so special! You have loved Soren and gawked over him, you have acted like proud Aunts (and a few Uncles), and let me talk about how cute I think he is.

I used to be more flexible; I used to try to meet you at your place or not demand a certain ime for things to happen. Now I have a very specific schedule, I have asked you to adhere to Soren's needs, and drive out to my place. I have told you to where Soren could eat and been more demanding. I can't tell you how hard it is for me to ask you to make these sacrifices, little or big. But you have been so gracious! You have been flexible, willing to drive, and so sweet; you always assure me that you are happy to do whatever you can.

You are the sweetest people I know, and now, more than ever, I have been SO thankful to have all of you in my life. When it's your turn to have the demanding little one, I will do my best to be flexible. When you have the sweet little human, I will do my best to be dote on him/her and love that little one ALMOST as much as I love mine.

There aren't better people in this world to surround Soren!

I love you all and am humbled by you!



Reading, Playing, Dining

8:35 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

Apartment Therapy started a "Style Cure" for the month; if you sign up, then they send emails helping you transform one room in your house. I was curious, so I signed up...not knowing what room I would do. My house has  "formal" living and dining room that are essentially one room. We started out using our "formal" living as a library/music room. In an effort to keep our house child friendly, we moved all books and knick knacks up 2 shelves, designating the bottom portion as Soren's toy shelves. So now we have one room that is a dining room, play room and library.

Thursday I was told to think about one part of my house that is perfect in my mind. I immediately knew it was the piano. On top we have jars painted gold, a figure of a lady painted neon pink, a record player and records.

Now I'm collecting images for inspiration. Here are a few that I liked:

neon leg accent for my black table

illustration, cute baskets and use of rugs

a new pendant light for my dining room

hooks for dress up clothing

I'm hoping to paint this giant room a light gray, but I'm not up for the task by myself. Maybe, if I had 10 people come over with a roller, it would take no time at all? Who is up for it? ;)

1, 2, 3, 4


Almost 10 Months Old

9:03 AM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

We have a goofball! He makes about 10,000 different faces a minute. Each age truly is more fun.

How about that top left photo? Cracks me up. He'll probably hate me for that photo when he's 12. But for now he doesn't care!

What I am loving about this current age:

• High fives
• Proud smiles when he does something new.
• Watching him explore the house. I love seeing him grab toys, pull up on everything, look out windows. Downside: my floors are never clean enough. He always finds something to put in his mouth.
• The comfort he finds in his blanket. He grabs a corner of it while sucking his thumb.
• I've started getting kisses from him. The other day I was laying on the floor, and he crawled over and kissed my forehead. It melted my heart.
• Whistling...he whistles! I didn't know this would be a thing, but it is.
• He likes being chased. Just a few days ago he started playing with us. He crawls at super speed and laughs while you crawl behind him. Yesterday he tried to get Samson to chase him, but it didn't really work.
• Rolling toys. He started by rolling a cylinder around, and then we showed him a car can roll, too. I'll be in the kitchen and hear the rattle of the car on tile.


Delightful Plush Toys

4:00 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

These plush animals are super cute! You can find them in the Etsy shop Poosac.


Blanket Forts

8:04 AM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

I hope that most of us have great memories of making blanket forts out of the dining room chairs and spending the night in them. I sure do! My dad would get put the couch cushions in it, and we would sleep there and tell stories. At 13 my parents bought me a tent. I never once used it outside, but I slept in it for a week...during the school year. I remember being so excited that my parents let me do that.

Obviously, Daniel and I look forward to a time when Soren thinks that is the best thing ever, so here are a few tents and teepees that I think are so cool.

And this re-purposed closet is delightful!

1, 2, 3, 4


Dream Job

5:54 PM Mallory Nicole 1 Comments

I recently asked my brother and sister-in-law what their dream job is; if you could have the appropriate education/training, what would you do?

I've always said a photographer with a mixture of editorial and travel photography. (I love graphic design, but I love travel more.) Today I decided that I would love to be a resource for travelers...taking photos around the world of great places to visit for those who prefer to wander instead of plan. The dream. Sigh.

Do you have a dream job?


I Love You

12:15 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

I have been thinking a lot about all of the issues the US has been fighting out lately: life vs choice, what equality is, the definition of marriage. It is a lot to take in, and it's not because I agree or disagree with what's going on.

 “Love is the expression of the one who loves, not of the one who is loved. Those who think they can love only the people they prefer do not love at all. Love discovers truths about individuals that others cannot see.”                                        - Søren Kierkegaard

We were made to love and be loved, but we became hateful. Not just the conservative side, or the liberal side or those in the middle. I have read and heard such hateful words coming from every kind of person. How do you change someone's mind by returning their hateful words and actions with more hate? LOVE. It's the answer.

I'm not here to tell you what I think about any of these issues. If you want to know, we can sit down for coffee or dinner and talk about what we think with open hearts. I am here to tell you that I love you; it doesn't matter what you believe, who you love, what happened in your past. We can disagree on every issue. We will agree to disagree, and I will treat you with love and respect. I will also fail you many times. I'm not perfect, frustration and selfishness will get in the way. I apologize to you now.

Wherever you live, whether or not we have met, if you are having a day, week or month where you feel lonely and unloved, know that you are thought of, someone is praying that you feel loved. If I could, I would be there for you.

If you feel unheard or unloved, email me. If you need to lay your burdens on someone, email me. If you are having the best day and want to share it, email me. I will love you the best I can.


"All of time and space everywhere and anywhere..."

2:00 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

If you're not a Doctor Who fan (I'm sorry for you), the quote was taken from it.

*These photos were taken in frame, so please excuse the glares of light, and poor photo quality.


Ikea Dresser - Painted

2:00 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

Above photo: Dresser after I painted white lines on 3 drawers and changed knobs on same drawers a couple of years ago.

I used the same colors in the frames I painted on the rest of the dresser. I added the blue and gold to drawers.

I love those marquee letters, but they're so expensive. So I made one (that doesn't light up) using cardboard, glue and pins. Up close it doesn't look great, but from where it sit on our mantle, mistakes aren't TOO noticeable.

And the munny (what's the plural?) that spell "wiese" are finally done.


Photo Gallery and Photo Shelves

5:30 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

From left clockwise: Daniel & Soren weeks after birth, Library in Ephesus (awesome!), a canal in Venice, columns in ancient Athens.

I have been ON IT lately. Actually hanging photos long printed and framed. Painting, making completing, organizing. AND taking care of an 8 month old. I don't know what happened and where the motivation came from, but I'm happy. 

Above is our dining room. I always planned on it being black and white art only. The 4 largest photos to be in that room are finally up, now I have to print and frame 6 more photos and give this a completed look.

Above is a bad iPhone photo of a wall in our room. It's a large wall with only these illustrations on it. I dreamed of having a fainting chair there, but dreams are often just that. So I wanted to brighten the room and give this wall some thought.

I put up 3 shelves for books, picked out some bright spray paint colors and painted my existing frames. With the three shelves there I could add two additional illustrations of mine (these are a series I create for Daniel), plus one of an artist I love, and a couple of photos from our Mediterranean trip (here, here, here, here AND here...a bit linky...i know).

I also painted our dresser, but that's for another time.


On Getting a Tattoo

12:35 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

"...for many of us (tattoos) are deeply personal, extremely important daily reminders of who we are, where we come from, who we have loved, where we have been, and 
who we aspire to be." -Lisa Congdon

 I saw this quote and loved it, because that is exactly how I feel about my tattoo. I had an idea for a tattoo for 7 years; at one point it was going to be "hope," at another it was going to be in elvish (LOTR geek here), but then I settled on "love" written in my own handwriting. I was 25. Weeks before I found out I was pregnant with Soren.

This tattoo isn't a representation of romantic love. It is there to remind me that Jesus loves me deeply, that I'm called to love everyone in the same way, and that I fail at it all of the time. Love isn't limited to your friends, or the poor, or orphans and widows. It's for those you just don't connect with, those who bully, murders, terrorists. I need to be reminded everyday.


Hand Drawn

11:55 AM Mallory Nicole 1 Comments

I love hand drawn elements. It gives so much character to such simple things.



Confessions - Food Edition

6:23 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

What a week and a half we have had. We started with doctor appointments (possibly more on that), followed by house deep clean for our new crawler and Vacation Bible School prep, then Vacation Bible School, which led to a stomach virus passing through our family and now teething. Daniel still has the stomach bug, and I am trying to keep everything disinfected so we don't carry our germs outside this house of ours.

In the mean time I bring you...

Confessions - Food Edition:
• I want to move out of Texas, and I want to bring HEB with me. I love HEB. I have the best one.
• I like a variety of foods, but the ones I hate tend to be white (cauliflower, mayo, white gravy, some 
  sort of chicken helper my mom used to make me eat and it's white)
• I hate mayo. I hate cauliflower. For some reason those two blended together with garlic is delicious.
  I still don't know why.
• I buy HEB brand or cheaper brands of food generally, but I will splurge on olive oil. I love olive oil!
• I don't want to be around someone eating peanut butter, I don't want to think about globs of it on
  my sandwich, but I still love putting it on toast and apples.
• When I'm not nursing a baby, I eat a little bit at a meal. My stomach doesn't hold that much. If you
  don't live with me, what you don't see is that I am eating all of the time. All kinds of stuff. Mostly
  cheese, bread and desserts.
• Our family thinks I refuse taking desserts home to force Daniel away from dessert. The truth is I can
  easily eat 8 cookies in a day and not even realize it. I'm saving myself!
• Baby Led Weaning (more on that later) has opened my eyes to the freezer world. I make batches of made-from-scratch good food for the whole family. We enjoy such delicious things like pesto, homemade pizza sauce, peaches, pancakes with bananas. So many things! I eat so well now!



2:00 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

In May, I attended two memorial services. One was for a man who lived for 46,692,000 minutes. The other for a girl who lived for 3 minutes.

The first was a celebration of a life well lived. There were stories about how he loved his wife, was smitten with her all of their 56 years together and treated her with great care. There was laughter as his grandchildren remembered visits with him. I left hoping that I could leave such a legacy behind.

The second was harder. I choked back tears the entire time, and thanked God for Soren, and prayed that I would never see the day his soul left Earth. There weren't stories about who Lyla loved, but there were stories about who loved her. And her legacy. I can tell you that the legacy she leaves behind is greater than many can hope to leave in 80 or 100 years. She has a story of faith, hope and waiting. She leaves behind parents who love her, and trusted God's plan. The loss of children is never easy, but with God on our side we get through it and have the hope of being reunited with them in heaven.

Lyla wasn't healed on this Earth, but found herself fully formed and perfect in the arms of her Creator who loves her more than we can comprehend.

I hope to leave the legacy she does when my time here is over. You can read Lyla Hope's story here.



What You Didn't Know About Graphic Design

6:36 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

Warning. This post is a bit long. Sorry. I have a lot to say on the subject.

In the past couple of years I have seen a lot of articles talking about the worst majors/jobs to pursue. Always, the arts are listed. Really, only arts are listed. And every time I am mystified by the people making these lists and wonder what the basis for these lists come from.

So, I thought I'd clear the air on being a graphic designer. I hope you can learn some things that you didn't know about graphic design.

- Let's start with the beginning. Is it worth getting a degree to become a graphic designer? The short answer: YES. If you look at job requirements of various graphic design jobs, you will see that most require a BA in Graphic Design or related fields. With the competition out there for these jobs, a degree gives you a foot in the door. After that, a portfolio sets you apart from all of those who have their college diploma in hand.
   You CAN be a freelance designer without a degree, but getting started with a small portfolio is    difficult, and a completely different ball game.

- Income. True, graphic designers can start with a humble salary. But the truth is, my starting salary was SIGNIFICANTLY higher in graphic design than my husbands starting salary in Information Technology (we had the same amount of experience in our fields). And a lot less money was spent on my college degree than his.

- Money vs Happiness. I could have gone into accounting and made a lot more money, more quickly. I also know that I could have gone into accounting and felt like I was missing something. When I have considered making a career change due to the economic state, I have found that I would be so unhappy, and I truly enjoy graphic design. It is worth giving up some things I'd like to have to stay in graphic design. It has also allowed us to experience God's provision in difficult times (more than once God has provided when we thought we wouldn't be able to pay our bills).

   I could go on about careers that bring in a lot of money after years of school and student loans. Or careers that don't bring in much money, but are so important to scientific development.

I have, also, realized how often people think these creative careers are to get out of certain skills such as math, grammar, science and so on. So here are some skills you might not know graphic designers should possess:

- An understanding of how people think. First, you have to decipher what a client is looking for. Most clients don't know how to word it. They'll throw out some words like "energy" or "corporate" or "clean," then you have to figure out what THEIR definition of those words are. You, then, must consider what grabs the clients of your client. There is a lot of psychology involved.
      • Along with that, there is an understanding of how the brain reads and deciphers information that designers MUST possess.

- Grammar. I have proof read so many things! I have to catch spelling errors, misuse of commas and split infinitives. (Please, don't use the writing on this blog to judge my grasp of english grammar.)

- Creative writing. Ok, that's a bit deceiving. I don't have to write whole stories, but I do have to come up with clever slogans, using alliteration, puns and a lot of silliness. It's a completely different skill from visual creativity. I have to turn on a different part of my brain for those.

- Knowledge. I don't know how else to label it. If you work for a variety of companies, you gain a lot of knowledge about engineering, oil (especially in Houston), healthcare, fitness, fashion, hospitality. If you design for one company a lot, you begin to learn a lot about their particular field.

- Time Management. I know. You're saying, "everyone needs time management skills." True. Have you ever had to come up with a concept for an ad, get all content (including photos) from different sources, stay on brand, make sure all info is correct and spelled correctly, and have it sent to thousands of people in 5 minutes? This is a real example, though rare. Usually you get an hour.

- Business and entrepreneurship. The direction of your career depends on how much you need to know about business; someone who is an in-house designer needs to know just as much as anyone else working for a company. BUT someone who owns their own business must have great marketing skills, be able to sell, schmooze, mingle, negotiate and cold call. Truthfully, I hate all of these things. I like people, but I don't like trying to sell to them. 

And while artists brains tick a bit differently than others, many of us are good in other random subjects. I'm quite good at math, especially algebra; I would happily solve algebra problems all day. My best friend, who is also a graphic designer, has some skills and interest in the sciences.

I hope you feel enlightened, and not bored. I, also, hope you aren't considering a career in graphic design, because I don't want more competition. ;) The next time you see/meet a graphic designer smile at them; we stare at computers A LOT!



A Little Bit About Make Up, A Little Bit About Branding

1:44 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

I don't like to wear a lot of makeup, because I hate the caked on look, and while I am not old, I certainly am losing any youthful glow I once had.  When my cheap foundation was causing skin problems I had to make a change.  So I decided to look at some better quality foundations.

I have loved Benefit Cosmetics branding for a few years now, so I wanted to try their foundation. I got a sample. I can say, I am super excited about it! It's not thick, it doesn't look like you've caked make up on, and it has an SPF 25. So. For those who care about it, it's worth the $36. Now I just have to go buy the bottle.

If you don't care about make up. Check out the great branding Benefit Cosmetics uses. They know their target group!