About Me

My photo
I love Jesus. I love my family. I love photography. I love books. I love thinking. Probably in that order. I have a wonderful husband, five beautiful daughters, a house, and a camera. I enjoy spending time talking to my husband, playing with my girls, redecorating my house and shooting things with my camera. In my spare time, I sleep.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Acacia is 3 months old!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Card

This year's Christmas Card (for those of you who didn't see it.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For God's fridge

The first time I watched the Veggietales "A Snoodle's Tale" I wept and today while driving I had the same reaction when I listened to the Christmas song "The Little Drummer Boy" on the radio, I believe for the same reason.

Essentially they both speak to how we often feel as though we have nothing significant to offer but that God loves us and accepts whatever we can bring Him. In 'A Snoodles Tale' the little snoodle's efforts were belittled & mocked by the other snoodles but when he encounters the Creator, he is told that what the others see & say is irrelavant--all that matters is how He sees the little snoodle. And He tells him that the pictures the snoodle draws will be placed on His refrigerator! In the 'Little Drummer Boy', the boy realizes that he is poor and cannot give the baby Jesus anything of monetary value...the only thing he can do is play his drum. He takes what little he has & put forth his very best effort in offering his small song to the Lord.

I want to remember that God loves me the way I love my children and is pleased with my meager efforts & gifts but that He is worthy of so much more than I can give. I want to always "play my best for Him" yet remember that even when my best falls short...He is still pleased to place my work on His refrigerator!



Friday, December 11, 2009

Eden's First Haircut

So I know it seems crazy but at the age of 4 1/2, Eden finally got her first haircut. I have trimmed her bangs several times over the last couple of years but never touched the back or sides. Her hair just doesn't grow fast enough on the sides to keep up with all the tearing & damage it endures. But the back was finally really getting pretty long and looking pretty scraggly so after several weeks of telling myself to just do it...I finally got out the scissors yesterday and evened it out in the back a bit.

Here is the "Before" picture:


And the "After" pictures:

Looks quite a bit better I think. I can't believe it took me this long to get up the guts to cut it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Font Conference Video

One of my friends shared this video on Facebook and I found it so amusing I wanted to share it here. Perhaps it confirms how nerdy I am that I found this as funny as I did but...I was an English major in college! And Comic Sans always has been my favorite font!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Modern Musical Numbers to Enjoy

I love musicals! I'm not sure what it is but when I hear a good musical number it brings a tear to my eye...and I'm not just talking about stuff like Phantom of the Opera & Cats. You know there is something more when you cry while listening to "Status Quo" and "Guy Love" I've seen three Broadway musicals so far (CATS, Le' Miserable, & The King and I) and I can't wait to see more. But for now I am content to get my fix by watching high school productions & TV versions. Here are a few modern musical numbers I've enjoyed all in one convenient location. ;)


From Enchanted: 'That's How You Know'



From High School Musical: 'Stick to the Status Quo'
(I know that this movie is kinda cheesy but the musical numbers in it are fantastic!)


From Scrubs Episode 'My Musical': 'Guy Love'
(Oh...and by the way, I just have to say that that Scrubs episode was the best single TV episode ever. Love it! It was hard to choose which song to put on here.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Princess Jasmine has been dethroned...and boy is she upset!

Before the baby was born I was only a little worried as to how the other girls would react to her. I remember being concerned back when Jasmine was born about how Eden would take to being 'dethroned' but she actually did really well transitioning to her big sister role. This time I anticipated that Jasmine may have a problem with welcoming another sister to the family but she also seemed to be dealing with it quite well...until this week. This week Jasmine has grown more and more hostile toward Acacia and the time mommy dedicates to her. A few nights ago we were all watching a movie together and Jasmine and I were snuggling on the couch when Acacia woke up and started crying. I turned to Jasmine and said, "The baby is crying. She's probably hungry. Should I pick her up?" "Uunhh uh." She shook her head no. 'I want daddy to hold her." "But she's hungry & only mommy can feed her." Russ tells her. At this she gets really upset and starts screaming "Nooo." and crying as I get up to get the baby. Today a similar situation occurred...but this time after I had sat down & started nursing, Jasmine comes over and hits the baby on the head with great conviction! When I start to scold her she takes another forceful swing at her intruding little sister! I grabbed her hand that time & Russ came to intervene.

I shouldn't be suprised...Jasmine has always dealt with stress & her emotions in a more flamboyant manner than Eden ever does but even so I was a bit suprised because it seems that what is upsetting her is Acacia's time with me and I've always thought of her as a daddy's girl. Hopefully she'll quickly be convinced that Mama has plenty of room in her heart (and lap) for all her girls.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

There is just something about a book.

There is just something about a book
by Gina K.

There is just something about a book.

There is just something about the feel of a volume in my hand;
the way the spine is unyielding to my touch.
There is just something about the smell of its pages
and the potential of the words that fill that gap between the covers.
There is just something about how they gather in organized families on my shelves;
the way their bold titles entice my eye as I gaze upon them.

There is just something about the way they speak to me;
the way their phrases enchant my mind & tantalize my sensibilities.
There is just something about how they transform me;
how their conversations mold how I see myself & the world around me.
There is just something in the way their discourses lift me to other lands
and their accounts transport me to other times.

There is just something about a book.

----------------------------------------------------

I love to read. But more than that...I love books. While I would in no way consider myself a book-aholic, I certainly admit to being a bibliophile. I have a hard time parting with books...even if I've already read them...or even if I suspect I will never read them. My house is filled with books--books from my childhood, books from my college classes, books I got from bookstores, bookmooch & Goodwill. I love shopping for books at Goodwill because it gives me the opportunity to find & read books that I never would have found or purchased otherwise. When I lived in the city I used to love going to the library for this same reason but since moving to a more rural area (where the library selection is a bit more limited) I've found that Goodwill works better for me because I can take them all home right away and don't have to rush or stress over due dates. The problem with this is that unless I really hate the book, I can't bring myself to get rid of it. So the books keep piling up. Russ covered one whole wall in our basement with shelves and that was filled before the screws he used to put them up with had cooled. I recently informed him that we need more shelf space & he joked that every wall in the house could be lined with shelves and it still wouldn't be enough. While that is currently a gross exaggeration--I know that I can't go my whole life hanging on to every book that crosses my path or it may not be too far from the truth! However, for now, I am enjoying expanding my collection. So if you are ever are in need of a gift ideas or a place to send your strays--know that books are always welcome in my home. The ones that don't join the family will be traded on bookmooch for books that will join the family. There is no such thing as an unwanted book in this house. (We may have a problem finding a place for them to sleep, however. ;))

Friday, November 6, 2009

I have a working stove!

We are seventy-two days into our kitchen remodel & I am excited to report that I once again have a working stove!! Yay! We all celebrated with a glass of sparkling grape juice. Now, I'm off to bake some muffins.





For photos of our remodel progress go here.

Fall photos of Acacia at 6 weeks




Sunday, November 1, 2009

Autumn Photos

Yesterday, the girls and I enjoyed our first autumn day together outside in nice weather & fallen leaves. I, of course, used this as an excuse to express myself through photography.







Enjoy more photos here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Acacia at Five Weeks

Photo of my beautiful Acacia.
Five Weeks Old!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Allo Monster Mash

So, someone in Russ' company took pictures of the people in his office & made their own Jib Jab video. So funny...Russ is a very attractive dracula! ;)

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A special couple

We had a friend over last weekend & as we were going over all the details of our in-progress kitchen remodel I remarked that I'd heard that the stress of remodeling can be really hard on a marriage but that we've had nearly no conflict during these very crazy past two months in which we have not only tore out our entire kitchen but also endured the last 4 weeks of pregnancy, given birth & then endured the first month home with the new baby & two small children. (If anything, we've gotten along even better.) At this our friend remarked with conviction, "Well, you guys are a special couple."

This casual comment really got me thinking. I have come to see that Russ & I really are a special couple and we come from backgrounds that are abundant with special couples-- making us pretty unique in our generation. I had very little exposure to fractured and/or unhealthy relationships growing up. My parents fought, as all couples do, but the authenticity of their love or the strength of their commitment was never a question, and now after 31 years of marriage they have a connection, love & understanding in their relationship that is enviable. Recently, however, now that I can see the world that exists outside of my family, I have been deeply distressed & heartbroken as marriages crumble around me. The thing is, that although divorce, betrayal & the like have always bothered me, in my mind they were always relegated to the realm of the lost. But lately so many of the people in my circles who are dealing with the tragedy of a broken marriage are Christians who I identify with or have admired. I ache for them and have been left questioning the steadfastness of my marriage. If it can happen to them...could it happen to me? But I keep coming back to the same conclusion that our friend so kindly pointed out; we are special. Things happen and life could throw us some pretty big curves in the future, but I have faith that we can make it through stronger. I believe this for several reasons. First of all (and most importantly), Russ & I are on the same page when it comes to our relationship with Christ. Everything else depends upon this. It is so important for single Christians to not undervalue the importance of choosing a mate with whom they have a strong spiritual commonality. Secondly, we both have a reverence to commitment. We respect each other; we communicate freely; we forgive & forget; and we take time to show love to each other. If we continue with these priorities I know that our marriage will continue to be great!

Chatting with Russ on that evening back in Sept 2002 when we first met, I had no idea that he would be THE guy. But when we started dating a month later, it became clear very quickly. And here we are 7 years later, married with 3 beautiful children and really just beginning our lives together. My hope is that we continue growing together with, for and in God and that when we are older, living together in an empty nest, we will have the bond & love that we see in those other "special couples", our parents & grandparents, who introduced us to Jesus and showed us that marriages can live happily ever after!

"There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage"
-- Martin Luther

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lil' Eagle


I recently sent an update to the alumni association of my alma mater to inform them of Acacia's recent arrival into our family. Today when I got the mail I was delighted to find a 'congrats' from them and a sweet little pair of CSC socks for my "Lil' Eagle"! I was pretty impressed at the gesture. As many alumni as there are I would think that the expense would add up. At any rate I just wanted to give a public shout out to my favorite college and say, 'Thanks Chadron State! You're still the best. My little girl will wear her CSC socks with Lil' Eagle pride. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Man experiencing labor!

Readers...you have to check out this post on C.Beth's blog! Watch the video of a man enduring simulated labor contractions and then let me know your thoughts in the pain tolerance debate.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Really?!?!

So, yesterday our chiropractor asked Eden what she was going to be for Halloween and she answered without hesitation,
"A giant squid."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm rocking my baby 'cause babies don't keep

"The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."

- Ruth Hulbert Hamilton


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

15 Reasons I'm glad I'm not pregnant anymore

1) No more acid reflux.
2) I can lay on my stomach.
3) I can make it up the stairs without stopping to rest.
4) Less visits to the bathroom.
5) Reclining on my bed is comfortable again.
6) I can see past my belly button.
7) I can put on my socks.
8) I can shave my legs.
9) My clothes fit me again.
10) I no longer waddle.
11) I don't scrape my belly on the edge of the bathroom sink or the doorknobs anymore.
12) I can stand up without assistance.
13) Hugs are less awkward.
14) No feet in my lungs.

AND
the best reason of all...

15) I have my sweet baby in my arms!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Acacia's 1st Photo Shoot

Last Friday I had my first mother/daughter photo shoot with Acacia. It was fun. I don't think it was my best work ever but I had fun and my baby is pretty cute so I'm satisfied. Here are a few of my favorites. You can view more HERE.





Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"One Heartbeat at a Time"

Today I heard this song by Stephan Curtis Chapman for the first time due to friends' posts on Facebook. (Thanks Stephanie & Alicia!) It is a beautiful reminder of the value in what we do as "Mom". I hope you are blessed by it, too.

Monday, September 28, 2009

First Smiles


Acacia smiled at me yesterday for the first time & today I caught it on my camera! They aren't the best focused pictures but I was just happy to have caught the smile!











In way of update...she's doing wonderfully! They are going to finish off her antibiotic and then she gets to come home. Currently looking like Wednesday morning. So excited!

More photos here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Acacia Update

Just wanted to update eveyone quickly about what is going on with me & the baby. She is doing much better. She has been on the antibiotics for a day now & her white blood cell count this morning was back in normal range. Her lungs seems to be clear of fluid. She is nursing really well & has the oxygen tube out now. Her oxygen levels have been good but she still drops whenever she gets really upset and that is the only real concern. She had an Echo this morning to rule out any problems with her heart and they didn't see anything concerning so that is good. The bad news is that I am being sent home this evening while Acacia is going to be here for a few more days. I can't hardly think about that without tearing up but I suppose it is for the best. As such I'll have to come in often to nurse her and I'll have to pump & bring in the milk so that they can feed her during the night. Doctor says she acts like a totally normal healthy baby...they just want to be sure that all signs of a possible infection are cleared up before she goes home. The next few days are going to be stressful & emotionally draining for me as I make trips back & forth between home and the hospital. My other girls will still be with my parents for a few more days so that will be good for me but possibly hard on them (both the girls & my parents!) Keep talking to God about us...He has blessed us so much!
There are some new photos of Acacia on my photosite to look at if you want.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Acacia Alexis is born!

Acacia Alexis has finally made her appearance. She was born yesterday evening, on her due date, (Sept. 24th) at 8:03. She weighed in at 7 lb 3.5 oz and measured at 19 1/4 in. Labor & delivery went well. After a week of waiting & getting my hopes up at every contraction, I finally had what seemed like the "real" thing yesterday afternoon. Although there was essentially no pain still, by 4:30 the contractions were consistently 3 min apart so I called the hospital & the nurse said that since I was already over 5 cm dilated that I should go ahead & come in. My parents had come up to stay with the girls so Russ & I came to the Birth Center & checked in. I was at 6 when I got here. Pain was minimal. Getting my IV was more painful than the contractions. (It took five pokes & four nurses before they finally were successful in getting it in place.) I was at 7 when my ob arrived. She broke my water & the contractions got a bit more intense but were still easily bearable. Around 7:45 the pain was VERY real and when the Dr checked on me at 8, I was hurting and ready to push. Three minutes of pushing and my little girl was born. I got to hold her on my chest for a couple minutes while we waited to clamp & cut the cord. This is the only chance I really had to look at her for three hours. Her oxygen saturation was low so they took her to the nursery to assess her more thoroughly. While Russ went with her, I stayed behind with the shakes just waiting until they gave me permission to get up and clean myself, after which I felt so much better! Russ stopped in briefly to tell me that the doctor order x-rays on her lungs to see if she had any fluid in there. I called my parents to let them know that their granddaughter was born & tell them what little I knew. (Most of our conversation went along the lines of "Russ thinks she was 7 lb 3 oz" "Russ didn't tell me that." "I don't know, I hardly got to see her." etc) A little bit later they moved me to my recovery room. At this point I was starting to get pretty anxious to see my baby. They were waiting on the x-ray results. Around 11:00 Russ came and took me to the NICU to see her finally! She did have fluid on her lungs & she was still having a hard time with her oxygen levels. After holding her awhile I had to go back to my room for my assessment. Soon thereafter the pediatrician had come in and looked at Acacia. He gave us a quick rundown of what was going on. He said that oftentimes when the delivery is that quick the baby doesn't always get all the fluid squeezed out and can take a big gulp of it down on the way out. He said that I should be able to nurse soon. That they'd be checking her blood for possible signs of infection & whatnot and those results would determine how things played out over the next few days. Sometime after midnight I went to the nursery to feed my baby and ended up observing an hour of late nights in the nursery before I got to do that. Russ went to bed, Acacia got blood drawn two or three times & I sat and watched & waited. The nurse said her breathing monitor had to stay below 70 before I could nurse. So I spent a lot of time staring at the numbers that represented her breathing & her oxygen absorption (which would set off an alarm if it fell below 87% for more than a few seconds.) Finally at a quarter after one (5 hrs after she was born) I got to feed her for the first time. It took a bit to get latched on but once she was she did great! I finally got to bed at 2 am.

Woke up today at 5:30 hungry & ready for some meds. I fed the baby, got a visit from my other girls & my parents. Eden was a bit wary at first but Jasmine was incredibly eager to see her baby sister, Acacia. While they were here the pediatrician told us that her white blood cell count was high enough that they were going to put her on anti-biotics. That was somewhat discouraging. It is so different being here without my baby in the room with me. We keep going to the nursery to visit & to nurse but the rockers in there are horribly uncomfortable to me so I can't stay with her for more than 40 min at a time anyway. Since noone can really see the baby & she's being cared for in the nursery, there is very little traffic in and out of my room. I'm thinking I may actually get some reading done while I'm here.
Anyway, just thought I'd spend part of this time updating my blog & writing some of the details down while they are fresh in my mind. There are more photos of her on my photosite--here. Keep us in your prayers. We are anxious to get our baby to ourselves!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Waiting...

So, I've been waiting for the arrival of the new little one. I had an appointment yesterday and was given the option of being induced this morning. I gotta tell you that it was tempting. But after some time of deliberation & prayer, I was confident in my decision to turn it down. I felt like God was challenging me. How much control do I want/need? How much do I trust Him and His perfect timing. During my decision/prayer time yesterday, I happened to open my Bible up to Psalm 139. It really was perfect. Through this scripture He reminded me that He knows every move, thought, word of mine before I have the chance to make, think or say it. "You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether." He reminded me that He created things a certain way and that their is no reason not to trust His systems. "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works" He reminded me that He created my little girl & knows the number of her days...when they will begin & when they will end. "And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them." And He reminded me that He sees my anxieties & knows my fears and that I have no reason not to give them up to Him & trust His timing no matter what. So..while I am getting rather impatient at times and knowing that if I had allowed medical intervention I could have my baby with me right now...I am confident that I made the right choice and that my baby will be in my arms in God's perfect timing. My job is just to wait. "There's a time to work; a time to rest and believe that He knows best. It will happen, all in God's time!"

BTW: The above quote is from a little known song that has always been the one that dwells in my heart & mind in times like this. It is called "All in God's Time" and is sung by a guy named Danny Byram. I bought his tape at a sidewalk sale for really cheap when I was a kid. (I wonder whatever happened to him.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Newborn Photography

As much as I like to think of myself as a photographer, there is just so much that I don't know & so much I have yet to learn that I still am hesitant to take photography jobs with confidence. Yesterday I had my first "photo shoot" with a newborn taking pictures of a friend's month old baby. I was nervous about lighting a newborn indoors on dark chilly day with very little natural light but I was so happy with how well they turned out that I just want to show them off to everybody! I ended up getting the chance to utilize my new Canon flash, using it to bounce the light off of their white ceiling and it worked perfectly! No harsh light, no flash in baby's eyes, and all kinds of neat shadows to showcase the beautiful wrinkles of a newborn! I learned something new about my equipment, about lighting & about posing babies and hopefully the parents were rewarded with some nice photos of baby Luc.






View more here.