About Me

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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.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

An Emily Dickenson Poem

In my early teen years I was a big fan of Emily Dickinson. I had memorized one of her poems for an assignment and I fell in love with the little hard cover book of her poetry that I had borrowed from the library. The brevity of her work & the high language, I suppose, also appealed to me even though, at the time, I mostly had no idea what any of them were about. I was feeling poetical this evening & decided to read some poetry for fun when I happened across this poem by Dickinson that I hadn't noticed before. The reason that it caught my attention tonight is that it contains within its few brief lines the names of both my children. As such I thought I'd make note of it here. Enjoy!

      "Come slowly, Eden!
      Lips unused to thee,
      Bashful, sip thy jasmines,
      As the fainting bee,
      Reaching late his flower,
      Round her chamber hums,
      Counts his nectars--enters,
      And is lost in balms!"

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pregnancy hormones & depending on God

This is my third pregnancy and I have to say before I begin this blog that I have it pretty good. All my pregnancy have been relatively easy and problem free with only minor discomfort through-out. I feel quite sorry for the women out there who really suffer to bring their children into this world.

With that said, this has been my most difficult pregnancy so far. I am currently at 23 weeks and it feels as if I am on an emotional roller coaster ride! I get so down some evenings and yet, were you to ask me what was wrong, I would honestly have to reply that there is nothing wrong and that I'm perfectly happy with life...but I'm not cheerful. The next day I'll be energetic & downright pleasant! It feels weird to be inside this range of emotions because even while my body feels them, my mind is not engaged in the negative emotions since it has nothing negative to attach to them. This is how I know that they must be hormone related. Besides the emotional consequences of these hormonal fluctuations I also have been experiencing a lot more physical discomfort. It is usually while I am in downward swing emotionally that I have the most pain & yuckiness of physical feelings as well--headaches, stomach discomfort, nausea, & acid reflux.

Before my ultrasound I figured that my symptoms were stronger perhaps because I was having a boy instead of another girl but this theory has since been thrown out. This child is also the most active in utero. I remember noticing a lot of active movement with the other two at night when I was settling in for bed but this little nugget is busy ALL the time. I can be busy thinking and working mid-day and the distractions are not enough to keep me from noticing all the flip-flopping going on in there. I don't remember feeling the movement this strongly this early with the others either but maybe that's just a memory loss problem. I certainly forget sometimes how far along I really am since we waited so much longer this time to tell everyone then we did with Eden & Jasmine.

Anyway, between the emotions, the physical discomfort & general exhaustion, my mental state has been much more chaotic then I feel it should be and, as a result, I think my husband is starting to wonder what to do about me. He thinks I depend on him too much. Maybe I do, but from my perspective, to try to depend on anyone else just means MORE stress for me and that is exactly what I'm attempting to minimize.

The solution that I came up with today (which I suppose was painfully obvious) was that I need to spend more of my time depending on God to keep me encouraged and not on people or circumstances. I certainly have been more lax in this than I'd like to admit but it seems that He has spent the last couple of days subtly reminding me to depend on Him. As Chuck Missler often says, "God finds a new way every day to ask us, 'Do you trust Me?'" And I certainly have noticed this question popping up a lot lately in many varying ways.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What if...

Do you ever stop and think about the big decisions/changes in your life & wonder, what if...I hadn't taken that extra semester of class, broken up with that guy, taken that new job? I am fortunate enough to be able to say that at least all the major changes/decisions that impacted my life were made easily or were out of my hands and generally have turned out very well. (I think God has really led my direction in those times of change.) However, even though I wouldn't take any do-overs even if given the opportunity and I love my life...I do sometimes miss things I gave up.

This morning, I was just wondering what my life would be like if we had never left Colorado Springs to move here. Like I said, I wouldn't change it...we made the right decision. We never would have been able to buy a house in Colorado, the distance from family was always a drag, and there are some things that a city just can't offer that a small town can (like a siren-free day). But there are things about the city I really miss. I miss the choices--the shopping choices, the restaurant choices, the activity choices. I miss the stimulation & the culture. I miss the mountains. I wonder if we had never taken this job and moved like we did, if we would still be living in the townhouse that was our home for only a few short months before the move or if we would have found another rental. I wonder how many kids we would have at this point. Jasmine would probably not be Jasmine had we stayed. Would Russ have gotten a raise, a promotion, a new job had we stayed or would we be struggling financially? I wonder, "what if?" but I'm grateful for where God has brought us and all the blessing that we have found here.

We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into three years ago when Russ unexpectedly accepted a job working for a company he didn't even know the name of and I packed up our 8 month old daughter & all of our belongings to move to a town where we had no place to live. But the job worked into a great opportunity where Russ' experience & opinion are valued; God provided kind people for us to live with while we searched for a home; and we ended up finding the perfect place to buy and got a great mortgage rate to boot! And to top it all off, our families are now a simple hour to two hour drive away.

Life is good. 'What if' is just for fun.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Itching to Scrapbook...

Now that Eden is four and another year has gone by, I am itching to get to work once again on updating her & Jasmine's scrapbooks. All things considered I am pretty pleased with how well I've been at keeping up with the scrapbooking thing. I have two scrapbooks per child (One for me to record their lives & one that is to be a gift from me to them when they are old enough to care.) Both are up-to-date as of their birthdays last year and now I am fully loaded with the photos & mementos needed to put another year in each of these books. That's pretty much how things run in my life. Instead of doing things a little at a time, I save up and complete the task in one big chunk! It's how I clean my house too and I really do prefer it this way. So this weekend while my hubby shoots virtual targets with his good friend, A, on the Playstation3, I will be pluggin' away (probably putting my back out) lovingly arranging each page in an aesthetically pleasing configuration that perhaps I will be the only one going nuts over. I can't wait to get started!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This year's "professional"---ME!?

Every year after their birthdays, I like to get professional photos done of my children to document their growth & change but since my husband considers this a waste of money when I am practically a photographer myself...I promised him to try to take the photos myself from now on. Today I attempted to be the "professional" and took Eden's 4-year old photos. Here is what I ended up with. What do you think?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Eden turns 4!

Four years ago yesterday, I became a mother. Yesterday we celebrated Eden's fourth birthday with family & food. Eden asked for a root beer float cake which I found a recipe for online & made to satisfy her request. We grilled hamburgers & made baked beans; my mom brought macaroni salad & chips; my Grandma H brought peach salad; my Grandma R brought lettuce salad & cherries. I also made a delicious punch & iced tea to drink. Russ & I didn't buy Eden any gifts because we pretty much get her everything she needs and we knew she'd get presents from everyone else. Russ did take her & Jasmine out for breakfast and then let Eden pick out a balloon at Walmart. She chose a huge three-tiered Spongebob Square Pants balloon. The party guests pretty much consisted of my family. My grandparents, my parents & my sister. Russ' parents came for Eden's dance recital on Saturday and then had to go home. It was a pretty nice afternoon. After everyone left Eden was acting quite mature & special. I think all the attention went straight to her head! Happy Birthday, Eden, my delight!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dance Recital

Last night was Eden's Spring dance recital where she & her class performed a tap number called "I'm Special." It was so cute. Eden's been doing parts of it for us at home so Jasmine has become pretty familiar with it as well. In the middle of the show, between acts, Jasmine says (loudly in the hushed auditorium) "What are they gonna do? The special dance?" Eden did so well. She was a little hesitant but her shyness didn't stop her from doing a great job out there on that big stage! Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure of my little dancer. BTW: She loved being able to wear makeup. And as soon as she had the whole outfit, makeup & hair done she became a little doll. Notice her on the shoulder pose. I have several shots of her "posing" in a similar manner! I wish you all could have been there!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pregnancy Brain & the Root Beer Avalanche

This cartoon depicts how I've been feeling lately. It seems that I drop anything that dares to make its way into my hands and my brain has completely turned to mush. I was always pretty skeptical about the whole "pregnancy brain" thing. But this pregnancy has made me a believer. I can't seem to focus, and I often forget what I was doing in the middle of it. Add to the mix the extra klutziness, extra fatigue, intense hormonal fluctuations & two small demanding children and I am a crazy mess a lot of the time!

At Wal-Mart the other day I was shopping in preparation for Eden's upcoming birthday for which she insists I make her a root beer float cake. (something she seems to have made up out of no where but which, in fact, does actually exist!) At any rate I was in the beverage aisle picking out a 2 L bottle of root beer when an avalanche happened...down , down, down came bottles of root beer toward my head! I caught the first two but the third one crashed & exploded all over! My right foot got soaked, my forehead was soaked, the floor on the other side of my cart was soak, the racks were soaked. Somehow the mess had jumped OVER my children and they only got sprinkled on. The only thing in my cart that got root beer on it was, of course, the new white bra I was going to buy to accommodate my ever growing bust! An associate had heard the explosion & quickly came around the corner to find a shocked, wet pregnant woman precariously grasping two large bottles of A&W root beer. He went to find someone to clean up the mess & then returned to make sure I was really okay. Once I recovered from the initial shock of it all I put down the bottles I was holding, checked to see what all got wet, & move my cart & child passengers out of the way. I wiped my head & my hands off best I could and then took another look around. The associate & I were shocked to discover that although it was clear (due to the splay of sticky, brown soda all over the place) that a bottle had indeed exploded--there was absolutely no sign of the bottle itself, anywhere! It was at this point that I took my leave & left the mess to someone more equipped to handle it. I sloshed & squished my way through the store and headed home, watching the road through my root beer splattered sunglasses, hoping & praying that this really is just a phase & I will get my bearings, my brain, & my emotions back again soon.

**I really would be curious to know where they end up finding that bottle.**

Friday, May 22, 2009

Denver Vacation: Monday

Monday morning, we got up and started getting ready to go. After a shower I began the process of packing up. We heard from J&S much earlier than expected; Little S even came over fully dressed and informed us that they were pretty much ready to go. So we abandoned our packing to go to breakfast with them at Chick-Fil-A since we were in no rush to get home and they needed to be back before 4:30. After we ate & had one of the employees take a group photo, the kids exploded into the play yard. They had a great time! All of them were laughing & running & screaming! We let them play for quite awhile but eventually we had to go and say goodbye to each other. Little S & Eden were both so sad to leave each other. They were both crying when we loaded them into their seats. After many goodbyes & hugs we parted ways. We headed back to our hotel to finish packing. The girls watched SpongeBob on tv while we made sure everything that belonged to us made it into our bags & Russ loaded up the van. I got some ice from the lobby & filled up our cooler and before long we were on the road. We had decided to take the girls to the Butterfly Pavilion so we headed to Westminster and found the place swarming with school children. That made it interesting! Eden really enjoyed the butterflies & the turtles. Jasmine was so worried about strapping herself into her stroller that she spent half the time with her back to the beauty. We spent quite a bit of time there. We looked at the spiders & bugs first. Then we walked through the Pavilion. Then we stopped to watch a presentation where they release some butterflies and tell us what each one is. With all the kids it was pretty crazy, crowded & we couldn't really pay attention and Eden started getting bored. A lot of the school kids were trying to get a butterfly to sit on their fingers and so Eden got it in her head that she wanted to hold a butterfly, too, so she & I went in search of a butterfly for her to hold. She was so excited when she finally "held" one on her finger for a couple seconds! We found Russ & Jasmine and Eden shared her good news with them. We all walked around for awhile longer, then we went and looked at the aquarium and the girls got to touch a starfish & a horseshoe crab. There was also a small interactive play space that we went through. They got to be bees and put together a praying mantis. They had fun. We stopped in the gift shop briefly and saw cheese flavored bugs for sale. Yuck! I got each of the girls a butterfly shaped lollipop and we left. We drove across the way & Russ stopped at a shoe store to look for new sandals while we waited in the car. We then went in search of food as it was nearing 3 o'clock and we were hungry. We went into the Hibachi Steakhouse to get Russ some sushi & to access the Internet on his Ipod to locate the nearest Jimmy Johns. Once we had secured both sushi & Jimmy Johns sandwiches we ate in the van. Jasmine tried to eat hers but she was so tired that she fell asleep with the sandwich in her hands so we saved hers for later & she finished it when we woke up. We made two more stops before leaving Denver. Russ went into Total Beverage and while he was in there I channel surfed the radio and learned from NPR that short people experience 'now' sooner than tall people. Handy tidbit to add to my list of reasons it's good to be short! We then went through a Starbucks drive-thru and got iced drinks. Mine was gone within minutes. It was so good! Our next stop was Loveland. I went to the Old Navy & finally got to get some shorts & tank tops to help get me through this pregnant summer. Jazzy & I then went next door to the Ross to use the facilities and I found a couple items to buy there, as well. After my little shopping excursion, we stopped at the PF Changs to get some take-out to take back to friends at home. Then we drove into Ft. Collins. Russ dropped me off at the Whole Foods while he & the girls went to fuel up. With those tasks out of the way we headed home for real--stopping only briefly in Cheyenne to use the bathroom. We got home about 9 pm. We were exhausted but we had a great time and were a bit sad for our vacation to be over so quickly.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Denver Vacation: Sunday

Sunday morning we all slept a little later. J hadn't slept well and was very sore. They had texted us at 6 in the morning asking if we'd brought any pain killers. When I was finally up & showered, the girls & I walked over to the main building to find ourselves some free breakfast. The hotels breakfast was quite impressive. They had pancakes, potatoes, biscuits, a waffle maker, oatmeal, fruit, etc. I ended up just getting myself a big bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar on it and the girls just wanted fruit loops so I let them carry their bowls with a handful of dry loops in them. I wanted to take our food back to our room so we proceeded toward the elevator. I reminded Jasmine to hold he bowl upright so she wouldn't spill & Eden (big sister that she is) said, "See Jasmine, like this." It was at that point that the elevator door opened and Eden make a quick jolty turn & spilled her fruit loops right into the crack of the elevator. We did our best to clean them up and then quickly headed back to our room with a small stop at the front desk to let them know what happened. We got back & ate our food while everyone else was just getting up. We finally got everyone out to the vehicles at about 9-ish. After getting most of the way to the zoo we decided to go get Jamba Juice first so we made a detour for our favorite drinks. While the guys & I got our smoothies, S went to Safeway to buy J some pain killers & herself a Starbucks coffee--then we were once again headed toward the days main event--The Zoo! It was pretty fun, but very busy. I guess even though it isn't quite after Memorial Day the weather was just right for a trip to the zoo and people were taking advantage of it. We saw the lions first, then the other cats. We saw giraffes, & polar bears. Little J & Jasmine both loved the snakes. (Silly little girls!) The men didn't get to see them because strollers weren't allowed inside that particular building so they stayed outside to watch our stuff while S & I took the kids through. We took a little juice break then we saw seals, & camels, & buffalo. We made very brief stops near the hippo & rhino. (I felt like we were practically running through the place!) By the time we got to the bird house a bathroom break was called for so we stopped there for that and ended up spending a great deal of time with the penguins. The girls just loved them! After that sizable stop we saw the flamingos before going through the primates. They had some neat animals but the signs about human evolution really started to get on my nerves! It was on our way through the last of the monkeys that Jasmine hit what was left of my smoothie out of my hand and all over the carpet of this incredibly busy building. I have to wonder why the children tend to make the biggest messes in the worst possible places! Ug! After that Little J was getting cranky & so S was rushing toward the exit so we only stopped briefly to see the bears, the mountain goats, the elephants, & the kangaroos. Those were among Eden's favorites (the elephants & kangaroos) We got to see an emu chasing the roos everywhere. Russ was hoping one of them would turn around and slam it in the face with his legs...but they didn't. Back at the entrance/exit, I explored the gift shop while Russ went to get our van which we had parked next the museum blocks away. While in the gift shop Eden dropped & shattered a snow globe all over the floor. I told one of the girls who worked there and she was really nice about it. She said it happens all the time and she thanked me for letting her know. We purchased a couple souvenirs and met Russ outside. By this time we were all starving since it was about 2 o'clock and so we headed to Dave & Busters for lunch. They weren't very busy at that time so we got seated & ordered. I was a little frustrated because they don't serve lunch size portions on Sundays so I got more food than I wanted for more than I wanted to pay. Jasmine had zonked in the gift shop and had slept through two car seat transfers & all through lunch. She finally awoke just as we were paying our bill & getting ready to leave. Back at the motel, J & Russ relaxed while S & I took the 3 oldest kids swimming (Jasmine stayed with Russ.) They had a lot of fun. Eden had a small scare when she stepped a little far into deeper water & couldn't get her head up. I pulled her up & she was scared but she got right back in the pool. (She spent the next hour, though, repeating the story to everyone about how she fell in.) While we were in the pool the maid came to clean J&S's room & they ended up out of their room with no key. So when we were done swimming S had to walk back to the front desk to get a new one so they could get in their room to change into dry clothes. After we were all dry again & properly clothed, we drove downtown to walk the 16th Street mall. J still wasn't feeling very well but he was a good sport anyway. We walked almost the whole strip both ways. We made a stop near the bottom to rest our feet, a stop in the middle to get more Jamba, & a stop at the top just to enjoy the perfect outdoor air. Little J pretty much slept the whole time. By the time we decided to head back to the hotel I was hungry & we figured the kids would be too so while J & Russ waited with the kids by the car, S & I went to Johnny Rockets to get some cheeseburgers to go. It was quite relaxing for us & gave us a chance to talk a little bit. The food seemed to take a bit longer than it should have and we began to worry about the guys but they were surviving. Once we got our food (minus S's fries, darn it!) we went back to hotel, ate it together & then headed back to our own rooms to recharge for Monday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Denver Vacation: Saturday

Saturday morning, Russ & S got up before the rest of us and went to pick us all up some breakfast at Chick-Fil-A with a stop at Starbucks for themselves. While they were gone I got up and showered & got my girls up & ready to go. By the time Russ & S got back with the food we were pretty much ready to go while J, Little J & Little S were all still in their pjs. We ate our breakfast together in their room and then Russ & I left the girls and drove just across the way to REI to see if we could find me a jacket only to discover that they don't open until 10. So we went back to the hotel, waited for a half hour then all of us drove back to REI walked around. I found the perfect jacket but prices were much too high for my tastes so after Russ bought himself a new water bottle & the girls Nalgene sippy cups we made our way to the Downtown Aquarium. There was a Corvette show going on in the parking lot so their was a brief detour made on our way to get tickets since the guys really wanted to check out the cars. All the kids were given homemade wooden cars by a lady in the parking lot. "Toys for God's Kids" is what they called themselves--pretty nice. Then we toured the aquarium. Little J & Jasmine particularly enjoyed it! They were so cute watching the fishies. They saw sharks, tigers, starfish & jellyfish. And they got to touch sea cucumbers & rays. It was good fun. Outside the aquarium we watched a juggling show & went on the SpongeBob Squarepants 4-D ride which Little S couldn't quit obsessing about. We were finished at the Aquarium around 2 pm and instead of eating their we drove to PF Changs and had lunch there. J&S had never eaten there before. The service seemed a little slow considering how NOT busy they were but it was good. Little J made a mess but otherwise behaved herself. After lunch we hit the mall & I bought a jacket at Dick's. At that point we split up & J&S went to grab a couple things at Target & got rootbeer floats at A&W while we went to Hobby Lobby so I could buy a frame for an upcoming photography show and then we went on a wild goose chase trying to find an Old Navy with maternity clothes. When we finally made it back to the motel we were very worn out but I was beginning to want food again and so Russ, S & I drove out to get some Jamba Juice & other food to bring back while J stayed at the hotel with all the kids. In addition to the smoothies, we also got some snacks from Safeway & a couple of pizzas from Old Chicago. It wasn't the greatest meal but Little S snarfed down 3 big pieces of pizza! After that we just chilled in our rooms until sleep carried us all away.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Denver Vacation: Friday

I just got back last night from our vacation to Denver with my brother's family. We left Friday and drove back Monday. I was pretty much packed by the time we went to bed Thursday night. Spent the morning finishing up, waiting for my brother J's family to get here from their home, two hours away. Russ had offered to drive a bucket van to Cheyenne for a former employer so he went & got it. In the mean time the bucket van died & could not be restarted. So when J&S finally arrived, we couldn't just leave as originally planed because Russ & a coworker were still trying to jump the vehicle. Just when I was starting to get impatient & we were about to give up on the bucket van, Russ tried one last thing and it happened to work so off we went. Sort-of. J&S had gone to Walmart to buy walkie-talkies for the trip, we had a movie that had to be dropped off at Blockbuster & I was getting hungry so we agreed to meet at a local truckstop and Russ took the movie back, while I hit the drive-thru and we all met up 20 min later. We were finally on the road by 11:30 or so. I drove the girls in the van, Russ drove the bucket, and J&S had their car.
With one bathroom stop we made it to Cheyenne in good time, dropped off the bucket van, hit a local Micky-Ds and were now cruising I-25 to Denver, walkie-talkies charged and in our service. We made a stop in Longmont for fuel & bathrooms and made it to our hotel by 5:00. I was impressed with the rooms. I made reservations on hotels.com and got a really good deal on the 'penthouse' rooms at the Residence Inn by Marriott. Two beds, two bathrooms, pull out couch & full kitchen. Wonderful. The only down side was all the stairs we had to climb & the danger of it with small children. After a brief stint of relaxation we decided that we better think about supper before it got too late. We ended up going to Beau Jo's pizza. It was easy, kid friendly & relaxing. We stuffed ourselves but still decided to grab Jamba Juices. Then we made a stop at Ross before heading back to the hotel for the night.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's not easy...

I am not a big fan of nick-nacks & collectibles. But I have found a weakness in my otherwise impervious anti-collection exterior--Ashton Drake mini dolls. The only reason I haven't yet succumbed to the temptation of their adorable little scheme is because they are ridiculously priced and I can't justify it no matter how cute they are. But still...adorable, are they not?

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Beautiful Butterflies

I bought these wings on clearance after Halloween 2007 and decided yesterday to pull them out & let the girls be my butterfly models. Aren't they adorable?

As always there are plenty more photos to enjoy on my Smugmug Photosite.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's a Girl!

So as some of you know and some of you do not...I am pregnant with my third due in September. I had my ultrasound today and found out that we're having another little girl. There was some mild disappointment in our midst at first but it just couldn't hang on too long when thinking of another sweet little girl being added to our family! Here is the peak we got to bring home with us...enjoy.