Sunday, March 28, 2010


I am all about photographing little newborns!
I have found a new website that is all about photographing babies.
All Things Baby is a fun new blog that inspires me with talented photographers, teaches me handy tips for getting that image just the way I want it, and introduces me to new products that will help my business. {plug, plug}

This week All Things Baby is hosting a great giveaway!

I am hoping to win this giveaway for my new and blooming photography business!

The giveaway is for an amazing marketing kit created by Leah Stimmel of Go4Pro.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

my selfish prayer.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9-10)

This week my husband and I were hit extremely hard with a scandal that rocked his job & our positions in our church. By scandal I mean accusations that were ugly and wrong, but lead to some speculation by people we trusted. His job, that has provided the means for me to stay home with our children, has overlapped with some members of our a...soap opera type of way. He said this...she said that...just a whole lot of ugliness!!

Our friendships we thought were solid were tested.

It became very obvious to us that the Devil was lurking in my hubby's work place (which was obvious way before now), in our relationships, in our church and then in our home. This has caused a great deal of sadness and self-reflection for us both. The saddest part of all is that many people have been hurt by this "scandal". This breaks my heart that anyone has been caused heartache at our expense.

Yesterday, I was on my knees in prayer (literally), but not really praying. I was at a loss of words for my Savior. I have prayed so much over the past 6 days and I haven't felt things were getting any better. These days have truly been so dark for me.

On my knees, I cried, sobbed, hard, uncontrollable cries for what seemed like an hour.

Sobbing, alone, in a dark room, I said, "I don't know what to pray for." Then selfishly, feeling unworthy, I prayed, "I need a visible sign that I am loved. I need to be covered with Your love and grace."

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7-8)

Honestly, I had very little left in me to pray for.
Do I pray for God's will?
I am not liking his will for my family and friends so far.
Do I pray for strength?
I have prayed for that already & I am still feeling extremely weak.
Do I pray for other people affected by this?
I am feeling pretty needy myself.

I have tried to remain faithful. I have tried to remind myself that He is with us through the good and bad. In my heart, I still had faith for His plan, but was struggling with remaining strong in His name.

I was feeling each day get harder and sadder. I could see the Devil driving a wedge between my husband and me, when we needed each other the most.

So, I gave in, gave up, & sobbed a selfish prayer, in silence.

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. (Psalm 34:17)

After feeling the despair last, my simple and selfish prayer was answered.

Part of my struggle was losing faith in a church (not the building, but the people) that I believed to be my family, my friends, my means of support. I was afraid of losing them because of my husband's part in this situation. Mistakes were made and people were hurt. It looked as though we were going to be judged for our sins and possibly turned away from our church. I have seen this happen before and I knew the outcome.

However, after praying for visible signs of God's love for my family...I walked into a church meeting tonight, with my husband. After a short discussion about the situation...the 11 people at this meeting declared love for my family {well, most of them}. I expected judgement and received love. I expected coldness and received compassion. God was in this meeting and knew what I needed. He used His people, our church family, to assure us that our mistakes are not a reason to lose the family He has provided for us. I was amazed and so thankful for the goodness of people and my selfish answered prayer.

A gentleman in this meeting that I don't know very well at all...shared some wonderful insight. He said that our walk with Christ is a constant journey of learning about being better, doing better, and learning to walk closer to Him - and we DO make mistakes along the way. He even said that my family needed to stick around (our church), let people love us and give them the opportunity to be loved even more by us.

Now, I am not sure of what the future holds for my family...whether we can continue to be members of this congregation or not. So MANY of the relationships have been affected by this situation. I know that some can be repaired with the help of His grace and forgiveness. But I am afraid that some can't be repaired and sadly, have been lost.

Only time will tell.

I know that we will continue to struggle because of the happenings so of this week. I DO know that the devil will continue to work through this situation, against the good of those who love the Lord.

Today, I was just humbled by His goodness to answer my selfish prayer and that tonight...after days of despair and loneliness...I feel His love that I longed for. I am so grateful for the vessels {the people of our church} of love He provided for my husband and me.

I felt His love, just like I had asked for. How truly amazing is that?

Your father knows what you need before you ask him. So do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today's trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:8b, 31-34)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

i love apps.

I headed out the door this morning for another walk/run around the neighborhood in my continuous efforts to become healthier (aka - lose weight). Yes, that is 3 walks in 1 week. Oooooh, watch out! I just might start a pattern!

Each walk makes me fall more in love with my ipod touch. I begged my hubby for this amazing gift last Christmas & since then, I have become addicted to it. I love my playlists. I love my apps. My ipod touch is my friend, my favorite toy...oh, how I love thee (I believe this is actually a sin, but hey, I am being honest).

I downloaded some new apps for getting fit! Thanks to Drew over at Mom*Tog for sharing her walking/running apps with me. I love them!!

Yesterday, I downloaded
Couch to 5K. This is "a fantastic program that's been designed to get just about anyone from the couch to running 5 kilometers or 30 minutes in just 9 weeks". It actually tells you what to do day by day. My "tells" I mean it talk to you. You can play your music as usual and it speaks over your music telling you when to run and when to walk. So you work in intervals of running until you are up to running a whole 5K. I used to run alot in college and LOVED running in 5k races. I was never in it for the race, but just to cross the finish line. I have yet to use this app but I think it sounds pretty cool. I also downloaded Couch to 10K. This is a 13 week - 3 days/wk - program which is supposed to coach you along, building up to running a 10K nonstop. I am really excited about this app. My hubby and I want to run a 10K together, the famous Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on July 4th. I have exactly 13 weeks to get in gear! Both apps were just $2.99 each.

The app I used today on my walk/raum was pretty cool, too - iWalk (just $1.99). It's a customizable pedometer system. I plugged in my stride length to begin. Then, using the ipod touch's shake/movement sensor, this app kept up with my steps, time, distance & calories burned. It can do much more than this...but still, I thought that was pretty cool. I walked/ran 2.45 miles this morning.

Ooooh, I like saying that!!!!

Now, obviously one doesn't need all of these apps, but I am slightly addicted to apps. So, yes, I "collected" them all. I am also very interested in Nike+.

This might be a little over the top for me (at this point,
anyway). Apparently you use Nike+ shoes and the Nike+ sensor/receiver - all that YOU have to purchase. Sensor goes in the shoes & receiver attaches to you ipod. It tracks your run and keeps up with the data in your ipod.

{You use the Nike + iPod menu and choose how you want to run. You can use custom workout shortcuts to start your favorite workouts quickly. Try the open-ended workout or select one with time, distance, or calorie goals.
Then pick your favorite playlist,

shuffle songs, or choose Nike-created Sport Music. You can even program a Power Song to play when you need instant motivation.}
Now that does sound cool!!!!

Nike+ shoes range from $50 all the way up to $160 and the Nike+ sports kit is $29.99. So this seems to be an investment.

Hmmmm, I will have to put some major thought in this!

I DO need some new running shoes!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

these are the days.

Ahhhhh, I had...just one of those days.
It was a day that left me happy & comfy & cozy.
It went like this:
Hubby took Sam off at school while I showered. Yes I have to mention the shower part because that is major...a shower. I even brushed my teeth, put on real clothes & make-up, too!
We (hubby & I) started out the day by visiting a preschool to see if it was a right fit for James. Then we dropped the boys off with my dad (it was my dad's Thursday with the little boys). Hubby & I ran some errands together & then headed to eat lunch just the 2 of us. Now, this was not supposed to be a "play hooky" sorta turned out that way.
We sat in the restaurant just the 2 of us. We talked & laughed. It was so nice. Obviously we don't do that enough.
We didn't completely play hooky...we sat in this restaurant for 3 hours. We both got a good bit of work done (thanks to wi-fi), spent some time together AND had a nice meal!
Then we sat in the carpool line together to get Sam & then headed to get the little boys, too.
When we got home we noticed the sun was actually shining & the roads were actually dry, even after the 2 days of rain we've had.
Ummm, "Hello, sun. Could you please re-introduce yourself. Haven't seen you in a while."
Since the grass was still too wet for the boys to actually play in the yard, we decided to get the boys outside anyway & go for a walk around the block.
Now this "walk around the block" was soooo "Norman Rockwell". Really!
Picture this: After spending the day together, hubby & I were kind of snuggly with each other, so we held hands as we walked down the street. Our boys were so happy to be outside that they were beaming (and being nice to one another). Sam & James rode their scooters in circles around us - having so much fun - & little Max was just running to keep up with them. He was grinning from ear to ear & moving as fast as his legs would take him. Everyone smiling!!!! Nobody fighting!!!! Ahhhh, heaven!!!
It was just a nice family moment. Being a photographer, I snap photos constantly in my brain, even when I don't have my camera. That short walk was filled with moments I would've stopped time with my camera (or for today, just my brain). It was such a great feeling & I was filling my head with snapshots of this memory.
Somebody, quick, take a picture & slap it one a greeting card - that says "for the love of family"!
After the walk, we all headed to Target & the local sporting goods store to get the boys some "soccer stuff" for the new sport Sam & James are trying out this season. For dinner, we drove through McD's drive through to get the boys their favorite...chicken nuggets & french fries (nothing for hubby & I after eating such a big lunch).
On the way home, with the weather so nice, I asked hubby if I could try to get in a walk before it got dark & he gave me the go ahead. Yes, I "asked" if I could go since he would be stuck back at home getting the kiddos bathed & ready for bed.
My walk was the absolute BEST exercise I have had in a long time. I raced against the sun. I walked as hard as I could trying to get in as much calorie burning before the sun went down. I was booking it & smiling about it. Smiling about exercise...go figure! I even ran a little bit (it might not have really been a true RUN, but I made the effort to speed up a little).
This was my view while I walked:

As I walked, I went through the events of my day, evaluating the reason for my giddy-ness. I just smiled & thought "I like my life." My days are RARELY this picturesque. But today was just one of those days that made me feel warm & fuzzy inside. I loved the time I got with my hubby today. I loved being playful with him without the pressures of the world around us. That playfulness spilled over into how we parented the rest of the day. When the kids got crazy in Target, we didn't lose our cool. When the kids were going crazy in the car, we still made jokes with each other about how irritating it was. We seemed more relaxed during the stress of the bedtime ritual. We were calmer with each other & with the boys.
What an amazing day! On my walk, I had to seize the opportunity to thank God for visible richness in my life, visible signs of reality that today was good - we are a family, we have each other, we are healthy & we are loved. Tomorrow might not be like this. Tomorrow hubby will be gone to work as usual, I might get stressed, probably run late & might even have to put some really adorable boys in time-out.
But for today, I want to remember that it was just one of those days that I don't want to forget. I have the snapshots in my head to remind me of this day. Filed away, to recall when I need to put things into perspective.
Yikes, I just brought myself to tears. {sniff, sniff}
I made it home from my walk just as the sun said good night. I was grinning & thinking to myself that I had won that race - I got in a good 30 minutes - I walked my booty off to win that race!!! Good for me!!! (did I really just compliment myself?)
I came in to 3 boys in the bath tub. I stood outside the bathroom door & listened to my hubby trying to bathe & manage all 3 of them. Laughing & feeling unbelievably blessed at the same time.
What a day!!!!! Oh, and on my walk, I thanked God for my ipod. I was walkin' to a little Sugarland!
This song came on & very fitting for my day (I haven't blogged with music lately, so here it is):

"but the hard times pass, like the good times do, too...these are the days"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

wordless wednesday.

Great Give-Away

I am a HUGE fan of give-aways, but this is the BEST!!

I found a give-away for a week's supply of Pamper's Cruisers with Dry Max diapers from "A Mom's Balancing Act" blog and Pampers. It doesn't get much better than that!

Also included in the give-away is a stylish Liz Lange designer diaper clutch!! This diaper clutch retails for $50 (shown in the photo below).

Stop by
"A Mom's Balancing Act" fan-ta-bulous blog and amazing give-away! Check it out!

Either the kids OR the dogs...

"It's either the kids OR the dogs, but someone has to go!", is what I screamed at my husband just last week. Seriously. I said that.

I am so irritated at our beloved 4-legged family members right now that I could scream (well, actually, I did that already).

Meet Sadie:

and Zoi:

These 2 dogs are driving me crazy. On top of trying to manage a home with a bunch of kiddos running around pulling stuff out of toy boxes,
sitting on counters & playing in water splashing it all over the bathroom (in hiding of course),
pulling out snack after snack out of the pantry,
threatening to draw on walls or other things,
etc., etc. (it's never a dull moment around here),
So, I get slightly ill when the dogs cause messes, too!
And lately, it seems to be too much!

When I pull clean clothes out of the dryer, they are still covered in dog hair. How can that be?
And it doesn't matter how often I vacuum, there are still dog hair dust bunnies everywhere.

Speaking of the vacuum cleaner, when you turn it on, it produce a huge amount of dog aroma which fills my house with a very yucky smell. It's from vacuuming huge amounts of dog hair I suppose.

AND, when they go in and out...whether we wipe off their feet or not (which is a big pain - 8 extra feet to wipe, puh-leaz), my wood floors are constantly dulled by paw prints. I can't ever have clean floors. Really, I want clean floors. I WANT CLEAN FLOORS!!!

Should I dare to mention the amount of stinky smelly gas 2 big dogs can produce. Disgusting!!!

See that dog bed, it's the size of a baby mattress. It's huge! It's in my bedroom. My sanctuary, my resting place, is being invaded by this big smelly, yucky dog bed (and it wasn't cheap, either) and 2 big smelly dogs. This dog bed sheds fuzzy stuff, too! Which means I need to vacuum, but the vacuum cleaner smell like a dog...see, it's a vicious cycle!

Oh, Oh, and I almost forgot. They eat my kids food off the table. Since I am a multi-tasker and never sit still, I will serve breakfast or lunch and continue to do other things around the house. Eventually I hear my baby screaming "Dogs, dogs, no!" When I return to the table, my baby's high chair tray is empty and Zoi is licking her lips. These dogs can swipe a whole sandwich off the counter as quick as it takes you to turn and close the refrigerator door. It has happened, Really!!!!!!

And get this,
my husband will come home from work in the evening and at some point start his little conversation with the "puppies" (as he calls them) & then look at me and say "Did you pay any attention to the puppies today?"

OR he will look at the dogs and say "mama didn't pet you today, did she?" making sure that I hear him. He thinks this is funny. Uh, really, it's not. this is no laughing matter!

Honestly, at that point, I envision picking up a large lamp and throwing it at his head!!!!! And I am NOT a violent person, really!

So, one day last week, I lost it! I threw a full-blown, "mama ain't happy" fit. I screamed at my hubby "its either your dogs or your kids, but someone has to go."

No need to alert PETA, the dogs are still alive and very well taken care of. I eventually returned to my hubby and said "okay, okay, we don't have to get rid of the dogs or the kids."

And of course, nothing is any different around here as far as the 4-legged friends go.

Sadie still has long hair (even though I begged my hubby to get her groomed - there is no way I can get 3 little boys and a very big dog to the groomer's on my own! I would definitely lose someone).

Dust bunnies are still alive and well and roaming around my dirty, dull wood floors.

And the vacuum still stinks!

Today, it is even raining. So when they go out and come back in, I will have 8 extra legs to wipe off and clean.

Apparently dogs and kids rule, mommies drool!!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

I {Heart} Faces - Jump for Joy

This is my entry for the I HEART FACES weekly challenge.

The theme for this week..."jump".
These are my boys...being boys. That's Tyler running and jumping over Max! Max, Sam & cousin Alex are running just as fast as their little legs will carry them...running from Tyler, of course!

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