Peoria Mama Interview: Meet Nellie

Please welcome April's mama: Nellie!

Where were you born + raised?

I was born on the Eastern Shore of Virginia at home. I am the oldest of 5 children and my father was in the Coast Gaurd so we moved around every few years which was always an adventure. We also lived in Nashville (where my family is originally from), Tybee Island, GA, and in Houghton, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Where did you attend college + how did you end up in Peoria?

I attended St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN, and studied creative writing and photography. I had an amazing experience studying in Ireland for an entire year of college. I met my husband, Dave, who is from Peoria, while we were both studying in Ireland. After college, I moved to Venice Beach, CA, to work with an award winning photojournalist. I made my way eventually to Peoria in 2005 after spending some time in Minneapolis and Haiti, working as a photojournalist.

You sure had some amazing adventures on your way here! Tell us a little about your family.

My husband Dave is such a fantastic dad and business owner (we also owna Christian gift and supply store, Lagron Miller). We have 4 beautiful and energetic daughters. Norah, 5 years old, is in kindergarten at St. Jude Catholic School. She is the sweetest and most easy going little girl and loves to swim. Brigid and Charlotte are my 3 year old red headed twins. Brigid has crazy curly hair, and Charlotte has straight hair. They are hilarious- best friends one minute and not speaking to each other the next. They love to run and dance and sing. And baby Margaret is now 15 months old. She has dark curly hair and looks just like her daddy. She is always smiling and making sure she joins in the fun with her older sisters.

How do you balance all the roles you fill?

I am constantly trying to find the perfect harmony between work and family life. I absolutely love being a photographer, meeting and capturing so many different stories of life. My clients become wonderful friends and a part of my life. I am lucky to have a home studio and a fantastic office manager, Kristine, who has worked with me for 6 years. She helps keep my life in balance and organized. And of course, everything is easier with Dave- we really lean on each other to have fun and keep going with the crazy, busy kids and our schedules.

What are some of your family's favorite summer activities?

Our summertime is full of swimming, catching fireflies and bonfires in the backyard. It sounds so "picture perfect" but it is also full of breaking up fights, cleaning up messes and overtired kids. But we try to go with the flow as much as we can. We love to swim and get away to New Buffalo, MI, every summer. We also love to hike, run and ride our bikes on the Rock Island Trail. We stay busy meeting friends at the park, downtown at the museums and for ice cream.

That sounds glorious! Anything else you would like to share with our Bushbaby family?

Although not a Peoria native, this is my home and community that I am so happy to be a part of. It is a wonderful place to have my daughters grow up and if course, we love Bushbaby and all that it offers our community.

Nellie, thanks so much for sharing a bit of your beautiful family with us. Check out Nellie's amazing photography at her site + check out her family's store, Lagron Miller on Sterling Ave. in Peoria.