elisalou designs & photography » Columbus, Ohio photographer | child and family photographer | senior portrait photographer

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The Grand Canyon

When Andy told me he had to speak at a conference in Las Vegas, he asked if I wanted to tag along. He suggested we rent a car and drive out to the Grand Canyon. A few days later I was chatting with Austin after school and he said, “I would love to go to the Grand Canyon”.
So of course I started thinking, Senior year, last time our schedules will match up, he had all of his AP exams done except one…. I texted Andy and said, “we should take Austin”.

So we start planning our trip and every now and then Austin would ask “is Blake going?” or “can Blake go?” At that point to add Blake to our trip was going to cost a pretty penny. And I mean pretty.

So we said no.

I think it was the day before we were scheduled to leave when I texted Andy and said “can we please bring Blake?”


Taking kids to the Grand Canyon is something people do all the time but I have to say straight up I am not sure I would have gone with the younger ones. Well Cole maybe but not Eva.


It was big, and beautiful, and a little bit scary.


There were plenty of areas where you could get a great view that had railings for protection


But there were also a ton of places (actually most places) where you could just walk out into the great wild with great big drop-offs. It made my knees feel weird just being watching people out there


Fortunately Austin and Blake had no desire to venture out there


These guys…. I got a couple pictures but my stomach was flipping around like crazy hoping he didn’t fall…



We googled “how many people die at the Grand Canyon each year?” 12 is the average in case you are interested.


We stayed in safe areas



Until we didn’t


We decided to hike on the trails- it started out innocent enough



But then the trail had no protection- we hiked a little bit down into the canyon but the way back up was tough. Austin wants to go back when he can camp down at the bottom. That is at least a two day deal.





I am so happy we got to take the older boys and spend time with them on their own. It really made the trip something special


So glad this guy joined us at the last minute


The Grand Canyon is something that I think should be on everyones bucket list. It was a pretty incredible sight.



But don’t go when it’s prime season- those trails aren’t very wide!!

Missy Stephens - Wow…. Incredible photos Elisa! So glad you all enjoyed such an adventure!!

Cilantro Salsa

When we lived in Dallas there was a restaurant called Luna De Noche that had the BEST salsa. After we moved away we always talked about how much we missed it.

Somehow Andy found out that you could buy a calendar from them that had a lot of their recipes on it. One of them being the salsa.

Um, yes please!!!

We have been making it every since. We usually split it in half and freeze part of it and keep the other half in the fridge. Last time we went to Florida we threw the frozen one in the cooler and took it with us. It’s so good you guys.

My kids have always snubbed their nose at it because it is green-ish. But tonight both Blake and Cole tried it and loved it- even though it has a bit of a kick. (which you can kind of control if you choose).

Anyway- thought I would share because you guys might just love it as much as we do!


Photo by we heart food

Cilantro Salsa
2 32-oz cans Whole Peeled Tomatoes
3 jalapeño peppers
5 bunches of Cilantro
2 tbsp granulated garlic
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp black pepper

Boil the Jalapenos until tender. Drain. Remove the seeds and membranes.
Remove and discard the stalks off one bunch of the cilantro, then coarsely chop the leaves and and throw them in the food processor. I usually do two batches splitting the recipe in half each time. It’s super easy and super yummy!!

A birthday, Grand Canyon, and Vegas baby!

April has been a crazy whirlwind so far.  Wait, today is the 30th.  Ok it officially flew by.  This year is flying by.  I know a big part of it is because Austin is about to graduate but how can Eva’s kindergarten year almost be over?

Speaking of Eva, she had a birthday 🙂

Her last night of being a six year old.

We celebrated with friends and the boys girlfriends

I’m doing this blog post from my iPhone- if it works I am hoping to get more posts up this way!

I love our street and the walk home from school everyday 

Andy had to speak at a conference in Las Vegas so the older boys and I tagged along and went to the Grand Canyon

It was pretty amazing.  And kinda scary in some places!

The next day we went to Hoover Dam which was also very cool.  I have pictures of both from my big camera that I will post later.

Next stop was Vegas.  We had a pretty cool room where we could all spread out

And some unique artwork

Blake has to rest frequently 

These two goofballs…

We went to see a cirque du soleil show that the boys loved

Austin won $41 off of $5

The boys flew home and I stayed a couple more days to relax by the pool.

It was a really great trip and I was so glad we took the older boys.  

That said I was so very happy to get back home and see my youngers and pups.

Big camera pics up next

Friday Fun Day

Last Friday was scheduled to be warm. And my girlie had had a bad week at school


We decided to go to the zoo. She was so excited. And that made it all so worth it.


I have always been one to pull my kids out of school when they need it. I know a lot of people may disagree but it has always worked out well for us.


And back home for a perfect dinner on the patio


I wrote this on FB that night

Tonight I am thankful. For a day stolen away with my 4th as a “mental health day” that we spent at the zoo. For a day of my 3rd that got to ride his bike to school and hang with friends after, to my 2nd, who had to skip practice yesterday for school stuff and was told he would sit out tonights game because of it but yet still played.. and my 1st- who came home saying, ” I am going to bed early so I can run well tomorrow” and next thing I know he says ” I have to go make candles with Taylor” I love my kiddos so much! Keep your priorities straight kiddos. It’s people and expierences that matter, not how good you are at sports, not how many hours you clock at school, it’s about life. And live it to it’s fullest. Because it won’t wait for you to figure that out.


I know straight up that life would have been very easy if we had stopped at two kids. Easy financially, easy emotionally, easy logistically. But would it have been this fun? No, not for me. I always knew I wanted lots of kids. Even though there are times I remember saying to Andy, “oh man- I saw so-in-so just hanging at the gym reading a magazine after her workout. I can’t imagine having a day like that!” He said “one day you will”. And that was when kid three was a baby. And now with all (4) of my kids in school I could be that mom. But it’s hard not to feel guilty about taking time for me when I have been full time for others for 18 years. Because I feel like I should be doing something else. I am giving myself a year to adjust.

Cole teaching Eva to play lacrosse, or at least throw the ball for the dogs.


Vampire dog 🙂


Great start to a great weekend.

Hello Spring- glad you finally decided to show


Hopefully you are here to stay!!


Everything is green and blooming 🙂


There is no doubt that we are all a little happier when the weather finally turns


Last week we took some pics for Austin and friends graduation party. Graduation. Sigh. Having a hard time wrapping my brain around that one.


From Kindergarten to Seniors in the blink of an eye.


Happy Friday everyone!