Our Family

DenaAugust 15, 2013

You’ll notice a new page located in the menu of the site, titled “Our Family.” I figured that I should do an introduction to our little family for new readers & friends. The page will live here & I’ll update it from time to time as we change & grow. Here’s what it looks like for now.


livelovesimple.comDena (Mama) — I am the keeper of this little blog. I am currently twenty-nine years old and my birthday is the fifth of May. I am a Taurus. I am a full-time stay-at-home mom and a part-time photographer & blogger. You can check out my little photography business at Firefly Jar Photography. My life has been an incredible journey so far. I grew up in a sweet little town in northern New Jersey. I have great parents and a younger (by two years) sister.

My life took a turn when I was around fifteen-years-old. While dealing with childhood/teenage obesity and teenage hormones, I became depressed and severely anxious. My depression and anxiety would haunt me for many years. I tried various medications and forms of therapy from ages 15-21. Finally, when I was twenty-one, I met a therapist who introduced me to a therapy that would change my life — Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). With the tools that CBT gave me, my life quickly transformed. Within a few years, I lost sixty pounds, found happiness, and began to live the life that I had always wanted. You can read my entire journey in my e-book, Beat Depression: The Journey from Darkness to Light.

Today — after many years of struggling to “find myself” — I am finally living the life that I have always dreamed of living. In 2012 I married the man of my dreams and eleven months later I gave birth to the sweetest little boy this side of heaven. We live in a little house on a little mountain in northern New Jersey. There are beautiful hiking trails all around us. It’s perfect. We have lots of hard times just like everybody else but we always work to find the light in every darkness. I am so grateful for my beautiful & blessed life.

livelovesimple.comMatthew (Papa) — My husband, Matthew, has had many incredible adventures throughout his life, too. He is the middle of five children. He grew up in the next town over from me — in fact we went to high school together. His greatest love in life (besides his family) is his dirt bike. He absolutely loves to ride, it’s his passion. Career-wise, Matthew has always been a carpenter. A couple of years ago he joined the union and now he does heavy, industrial carpentry (think bridges, skyscraper foundations, shore walls, etc.). There are so many beautiful, juicy details about his life that I would just love to share — but Matthew is much more private than me and I respect that. Maybe one day I’ll get him to agree to an interview. 😉 Roman James — Oh, my little love. What can I say? This boy is the moon and the stars and the sky and the sun and the sea. He is our everything, our whole world. We spent nine beautiful months awaiting his arrival, dreaming about his sweet little face, and then on May 7th, 2013 he joined us. It was the most wonderful day of our lives. We still cannot get over him. We often stop and marvel at what a treasure he is. We are convinced that he is the cutest, the smartest, and the sweetest little guy that there ever was. We adore him and cannot wait to watch him grow. Bella — Bella is our sweet girl. We got Bella when she was just a tiny puppy from a local rescue. She is almost five-years-old and she fills our lives with so much joy. She has always been our little girl and she is just the sweetest. She loves to hike, chase squirrels, and sleep in our bedroom. She will jump into anything that is wet — streams, lakes, puddles — you name it! She loves to have her belly scratched and to rub her back on warm grass. She’s not great with “new” friends but we’re working on that.

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Comments (6)

  • Gillian

    August 15, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Cute 🙂 I love your photography site, I had never seen it before!

    1. denabotbyl

      August 15, 2013 at 11:42 am

      Thank you!! The photography site is fairly new — it’s so exciting. I’ve got to get around to a post that properly introduces it. 🙂

  • Laura

    August 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Oh you gorgeous woman you!! you are so inspiring, I think i just fell in love with Roman and the baby belly! XO

    1. denabotbyl

      August 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you, doll. I’m really glad we’ve found each other. You’re wonderful. <3

  • Misty Carone

    August 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Nice to meet ya. I’ve actually just announced my desire to turn my passion for photography into a career with the opening of my website. However, I don’t have much on my gallery yet. I’m super new. I really love the name of your biz, Firefly Jar….how cute. Your photos are lovely, too 🙂

    1. denabotbyl

      August 15, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Thank you!! How exciting for you. I LOVE photography — I’ve had a camera in my hands since I was a little girl. I got serious about when I visited Kenya in ’06. I just launched FFJ this spring. Dream come true & I can’t wait to check out your work. 🙂

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