I sat on the front porch in the rocking chair, alone for just a few moments while Josue and his parents went inside to get tea and banana bread.  It was dark outside, and air was crisp and cool, promising the arrival of fall.  As I glanced behind me through the large bay window into our warmly lit home, a parade of memories danced across my mind.

I looked at the table in the window and admired the array of houseplants that have managed to survive my general neglect.  Just beyond the table, I could see our wedding photographs on the wall, and below them, our newly acquired piano.   Just beyond the piano sits our much-loved (some might say beat-up) faux leather couch that we bought second-hand soon after moving back to the States.  And by that, the doorway into the kitchen where our table sits below a large map of the world.

Each one of those seemingly commonplace items, hold so much meaning for me.

Like the couch…while it is no longer attractive, it is beautiful to me.  When I look at it, I remember the many nights I spent alone there praying for our immigration paperwork to be complete so Josue could come home.  I remember sitting on that couch the day we came home from the hospital, holding my newborn baby girl and staring at her sweet face for hours on end.  I remember the many books we’ve read to Elise there, and the first time I read I’ll love you forever to her and cried like a baby.

When I look at the floor below the couch, I can see Josue sitting with Elise building lego towers and crawling around the floor with her on his back playing horsey, as they do so many evenings.

I look into our home and see the hours of work we have put into it making it our own, and the memories we have made here.  But I also imagine what it might look like in months to come.  There will be more children snuggling on the couch for stories and surrounding our kitchen table for meals.  There will be more chaos, more dirty laundry, more giggles, more tears and even more love.

It has been three years this week since we bought this house, and I couldn’t feel more blessed.  It isn’t often I slow down enough to look into my life from the outside, but when I do I am overwhelmed with gratitude to get to live this beautiful, undeserved life.  It is far from perfect, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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all photos by Sweet Root Village

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  • Sandra Marlowe - Beautifully written. Blessed,indeed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts of that quiet moment overflowing with heartfelt gratitude.

  • Ana Buitrago - Thanks for sharing about your life and home friend! You are very blessed!

  • Florence Marlowe - Thank you for sharing sweet sister. We all have so much to be grateful for. I can’t wait to see you guys in a few short weeks! We miss you!

Over the past two years I’ve photographed the Ferenc family as they’ve grown from a family of two to three, and now three to four!  I photographed little Henry’s newborn session and on to is first year.

In July, Beatrix Maclain joined the Ferenc family bringing all kinds of sweetness to that busy home!

Thank you Kelly and Chris for opening your home for me to document these precious moments!


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Big brother kisses!

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Sweet moments with her daddy…I love how she is looking up at him!

old town alexandria newborn photographerpin thisold town alexandria newborn photographerpin thisLittle princess…

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As I threw together a quick batch of chex mix this afternoon, I realized it had been years since I had made it.  And the smell, as smells so often do, brought back a wash of memories, transporting me back in time.

I could smell the spices and feel the warmth I we climbed the narrow garage stairs into my grandmother’s kitchen.  My 4 excited siblings crowded up to the door with me, following our ears to the sound of laughter inside.  As we poured through the door and into the white tile kitchen, we immediately encounter the spread.  Across the countertop, just below my eye level, lay a feast only worthy of the Marlowe name.  Corn pudding, broccoli and cheese casserole, turkey, ham, stuffing, sweet potatoes and the most amazing parmesan rolls.

All made with immense love by my grandmother.  MimiThe Jan.  A woman unlike any other…she was the kind of person who could touch your life forever, even if you just met her once.  She loved people, travel, good food, and most of all her family.

Her laughter, almost like a high pitched cackle filled the room and I couldn’t help but smile.  I glanced to the left, brushing by the small, two-person green laminate kitchenette table where Mimi and I sat on so many occasions playing cards.  She loved to play cards.  She’d cheat with the best of them, then laugh until you almost forgot.

Just past the kitchen was the small wood paneled living room that was original to the house, and a large doorway that led into the expanded living room.  The room was lined with windows that overlooked the steeply sloped backyard with a tall weeping willow at the bottom.  Through the middle of the room curved an extra large green and coral couch.  Every Christmas, in the far left corner of the room towered the most glorious sight (to my eight year old eyes);  a glowing Christmas tree surrounded by mountains of brightly wrapped gifts, taller even than myself.

There are traces of Mimi throughout my life that remind me of her daily.   I wear hear wedding rings which means the world to me.  She and my grandfather had the sweetest marriage.  In most photographs of them throughout their years together, he is staring at her in complete joy and adoration, and she is blissfully happy holding his hand.

I also inherited some of her loud costume jewelry and quirky furniture.  In our living room sit two large wooden elephant side tables that were also Mimi’s.  They are items I never would have purchased (for style or price) but they add such a fun element to the room (not to mention all the elephant in the room jokes).

I often wish I could sit down with her as an adult and just talk about life.  Or play cards and go shopping (she loved to shop).  She passed away when I was 10 but she left a legacy of joy that I am so thankful to carry on.

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Here’s an old family picture…Mimi was incredibly glamorous, even with 4 kids to manage! 

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I got to photograph this darling family a few weeks ago at one of my favorite parks.  I absolutely love the color scheme this mama picked out for her family…but then I would expect nothing less from a photographer mama!

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10 years and 3 kids later they are still so sweet together.

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We ventured into this beautiful field of flowers which proved quite itchy but oh-s0-worth-it!alexandria va family photographerpin thisalexandria va family photographerpin thisalexandria va family photographerpin thisalexandria va family photographerpin thisalexandria va family photographerpin this

Thank you Moons for letting me capture your sweet family!

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I don’t quite know how to start this post, other than by diving right in…we are adopting!

If you know me well, you probably already know that as we have been in the process for over two years, however I’ve never officially announced it here.  With the nearing arrival of our kids (yes, TWO!), I wanted to share a little of our story with you!

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Josue and I have always talked about adoption…even before we were married.  It has been something near to my heart for many years, and I always knew I would someday adopt.  I’m not sure exactly why I’ve always carried that with me; it is likely due to a combination of factors.  I’ve watched close friends and family walk through the adoption process, spent time volunteering overseas in broken communities, and even had the opportunity to teach ESL to an 11 year old boy from Ethiopia for the first year he was at his new home in the States.

But more than all of that, it has been a personal conviction.  Josue and I often talk about how thankful we are for all we have been given…tangible and intangible.  We have been blessed with wonderful, loving and supportive families, good jobs, and amazing church communities every place we have lived.

When Jesus tells the parable of the faithful servant in Luke 12, he ends the story saying that to him whom much has been given, much will be required.  We have been given so much.  And we want to give out of the overflow of blessings we have been given.  In our case, that is a home and a family.

The decision to adopt from El Salvador was easy as that is Josue’s home country.  We visit his family there yearly and carry a special place in our hearts for the many children there in need of a loving family and safe place to call home.  El Salvador is among the more difficult countries to adopt from, and the process has been long.  There have been stacks of paperwork, hours of reading, signing, notarizing, certifying and double-checking documents.  There have been heartfelt prayers for provision, and gratitude every step of the way.

We are now in the last part of the adoption process in which we await approval from El Salvador, then a match with our children.  This part could happen as quickly as this fall, but it could also take another 1 or 2 years.

I am so thankful for you guys, the amazing people who have been part of my business and thus part of my life helping make this dream possible!  If you want to continue to follow our adoption story, you can read more details and updates over on our adoption blog!

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photos by the amazing Sweet Root Village

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