Humans with Bouquets: The Bacquets

My sister-in-law, Kassi and her husband Dan have 5 kids - Tyler, Tannyn, Tayli, Traxler, and Tavvi. That's a lot of kids. They are the Bacquets. Bacquet Family

Today's post is very near and dear to my heart, not only because the Bacquets are my family, but because I think of them as champions among us. Life has its ups and downs for everyone, but I think that some of us are dealt a tougher hand than the rest. Almost two years ago Kassi and Dan were given the gift of beautiful fraternal twins (a boy and girl), and what could be better than that, right? But there was a catch, their baby boy (Trax) was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis a few days after birth. For those of you who aren't familiar (as I wasn't), Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a fatal genetic condition that affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and pancreas. Especially tough is that Trax is a normal, active toddler, as the disease is not externally apparent.

Having been with the Bacquets for 2-3 days at a time and seeing their life up close and personal, it is apparent how much CF has touched upon every aspect of their life and changed it in many ways. Even with health insurance, medical bills are a huge issue, as insurance doesn't cover all of the necessary treatments. I would say that on average, Trax's CF treatments occupy 2-3 hours of their lives every day - and when you have 5 kids, that is a lot of time to spend on just one. However, they have taken it in stride, and their faith, sense of humor, and the love that they have for their family and each other remains strong!

I honestly don't know how I could ever cope with having to worry about every little fever that creeps up, a minor cold, or a cranky baby who doesn't want to be connected to a machine 3 times a day for 30 minutes - while still having to be a parent to four other kids.

Don't let these incredibly adorable tiny faces fool you, they can destroy you! The last time we visited it was about a month and a half ago, and one afternoon Trax cried non-stop for an hour. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

Let's just say that we had an array of different flowers for our shoot, but both Tavvi and Trax were much more into my watering can... Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

With everything that Kassi has to do every day of her life as a mom to 5 kids, she is a put-together and stylish mom! Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

And this guy, well he doesn't need an intro - the photos speak for themselves! I've known Dan for 13 years, and he still remains one of the funniest guys ever! He makes me laugh like no one does. My kids love him as their uncle Dan, and he is easygoing, patient, and fun - as well as a great dad. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

For more of Kassi's story, please check out this interview on Design Mom. For more information about Cystic Fibrosis, please check out the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Credits:

Styling and design by Kiana Underwood Photography by Nathan Underwood

Humans with Bouquets: NOLA

I cannot begin to convey the love I have for New Orleans. I have visited many times, and each time, I'm more in love. There is something about it - the beautiful archuitecture, the history, the art, the music, and the food. However, above all, what make NOLA is its beautiful people! I have traveled to many cities in many countries in my lifetime, but I have to say that New Orleans has some of the friendliest and kindest people I have ever encountered. So, on my recent road trip, I decided that I wanted to capture some of these lovely faces and give them the spotlight they deserved. I made a bouquet, and NRU brought his Hassie along and we went for an early evening walk in the French Quarter (with kids in tow of course). I simply walked around and asked people who seemed interesting to me if they would hold the bouquet and participate in my endeavor. No one said "no" - and here are the lovely people we were able to capture before we lost the daylight!

This lovely man - I don't know his name - couldn't hold a bouquet and play his instrument at the same time, so one of my boys gave him a hand (albeit a little hesitantly). Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

This is Bourbon Street beauty Brooke. She was very sweet, and I loved those shoes!! Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

This man was busy, but he was still a willing and kind participant. I just love the bright colors of his shirt and hot dog cart! Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

This serious but kind man is Vashon. He didn't have an e-mail address, but I promised I would mail him a copy of his photo to his home. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

And last but not least, is Chris, who was playing the guitar beautifully on Royal Street! Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

Thank you beautiful people of New Orleans, I'm honored to have you as my humans!

Note: Once we were done, I told my husband that I would give the bouquet to the next person who admired it. So, we walked into a charming shop where the shopkeeper said "Oh, what a lovely bouquet" and they were hers. She was so shocked and thankful - and told me that I had made her day! Let's just say that I had had a pretty good day myself!

Credits:

Styling and design by Kiana Underwood Photography by N.R. Underwood

Humans with Bouquets: Joy

When we were in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of stopping by Joy Wilson's lovely home in the French Quarter for a little shoot. Oh, you don't know Joy Wilson? Sure you do...you just know her as Joy the Baker! If you are at all into cooking or baking, then you know that Joy has the most scrumptious blog about baking and cooking. Additionally, she has a certain way of captivating you by simply telling you what is going on around the Internet or elsewhere, what she did that day, or just downright pointing out something that you too just happened to be thinking of. So, in a way, Joy not only teaches you how to make amazingly delicious food in the easiest way, but when reading her blog, it is as though you are sitting down and having a cup of coffee with a friend. Her "Let it be Sunday" posts are a great example of this, and one of my fav blog series.

As a reader of Joy's blog, and someone who loves to make decadent food, I love the fact that she celebrates the usage of real ingredients such as butter, sugar, and chocolate. I mean, have you seen these black and white baked donuts? Her second book - Homemade Decadence - comes out in October. I am certainly looking forward to it!

As someone who loves to travel and isn't afraid of change, I loved hearing Joy's story on how and why she moved earlier this year to New Orleans and into her gorgeous home (built in the early 1800s). It's a gorgeous place, and filled with art and style (and a cat called Tron).

Thank you, Joy, for participating in my series. You are a breath of fresh air, and it was great spending time with you!

A little glimpse of the incredible natural light and art in Joy's home. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

This balcony is even more amazing in person!! Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

Joy's kitchen, where all the magic happens. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

Flowers: peony, anemone, rose, nigella, blushing bride Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

We walked around the neighborhood, which is oozing with charm. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

And finally, these french doors + Joy + her bouquet - so much light and so much beauty in one image! Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

Credits:

Styling and design by Kiana Underwood Photography by N.R. Underwood