Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Emmitt:  E, C, and I had been playing pirates in his room right before I took this picture.  He climbed up on his bed and was jumping about and grabbing the dragonflies that hang from the ceiling.  He's had them since he was a baby.  They were my version of a mobile over his crib.  He kept flinging them and discovered that if you really put some force in it, you can make the dragonfly hit the moving fan, which makes a big sound and then it flies back all wonky and such.  I tried to nip this game in the bud, but apparently to no avail.  A few days later I walked into E's room to check on him and a friend, only to find one of the dragonflies had come down in a fun game of Fling it Toward the Fan.  What're you gonna do? ;)
Cora:  This girl takes more and more steps each day.  It's neat to watch her confidence grow with each step she takes.  I love how both of these pictures are off balance.  Happy and off balance... seems like a good reflection of our life.

Happy Week, friends!  These are more phone pics.  Need to try get my real camera out this week...


Friday, July 25, 2014

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

E&C:  Emmitt had asked to "tuddle" together (oh my heart, by the way) in my bed and watch a movie last Thursday.  He was sleepy and not feeling great, so I thought this was a really good idea.  Just as I was about to cuddle up to him, Cora woke up from her nap.  So E rested a little in my bed and I kept her from climbing all over him or flinging herself onto the floor.  Although a little hectic, it was still nice to be all together on the bed, sun streaming in through the blinds.  

These are some pictures I got with my phone and then used to play with a new-to-me editing app, VSCO.  I had just discovered it after reading through a bunch of posts by Annapolis & Company, called The Everyday Project.  I love learning new photography stuff and I was really impressed with this series.  I think her pictures are always gorgeous, so it's neat to read about her process and get a glimpse into how she makes it happen... even though sometimes I'm convinced that it must just be magic, which I haven't seemed to snag yet ;)  

Goodness, it's Friday.  I'm not sure how that happened, because I started this post on Monday and for whatever reason never finished it.  But friends, I wanted to say a big THANK YOU for the encouragement after my last post.  I can't tell you how much it means to me.  Really.  I so appreciate each one of you!  I hope you all have fabulous weekends!

Back When It Was Spring

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Last Fall, I wrote about the changing leaves on the trees and how they felt appropriate for the stage of life our little family of four was navigating.  After my Aunt Jill suggested it, I decided to get some pictures of us standing next to the tree in the very front of our yard for each season and briefly reflect on those months.  You can read about Fall here and Winter here.  I finally remembered to get some pictures toward the very end of Spring and just hadn't gotten around to writing about it.  Mostly because I'm still working through the parts of Spring that stood out to me.  But I can't keep putting it off.  It seems the best way I learn these days is to write it out.  I think that's what is so exhilarating and terrifying about writing.  But on to Spring...

Just as Fall acted as the perfect backdrop to our changing lives, it seemed Spring also mimicked me.  I felt things happening... growing, stirring, moving within.  A new life.  No, not a baby.  I'm not pregnant.  But a different kind of new life.  The kind where all of the sudden you are sure of something about yourself that you didn't really know before and you weren't even really asking about.  It becomes very clear, which is so exciting.  For a minute.  And then it's largely anxiety-producing, because while you can't wait to head out on this new adventure, this new life, you are fairly certain that you have no idea what any of the logistics or travel instructions are.  Have I lost you?

I read two books during Lent (I will write more about this another time) that turned out to be really good for me, as a Christian and a human and just a Grace.  They included information I was aware of but needed to hear in a new way, and then brand new information all together.  Looking back, those books feel like a catalyst to the stirring within, although I believe there are many things that have led me to this point.  I'm still trying to figure it all out.  I'm sure I will be for quite some time.  But I'm trying not to stand still.  I'm trying to move forward even when it's dark and I'm having trouble finding the path, bumping into this and that.  I'm trying to keep walking, until I see some twinkling lights just ahead.  They will keep me going as I learn my way.  And you, my friends.  You always keep me going.

For now, here's what I know:

I want to be a writer.

I want to write about things that matter.  

I want to serve the vulnerable and oppressed.  

I want to enjoy my family and friends, and live in gratitude.

I want to have some fun in all of this, along the way.

As you may notice, E isn't in this set of pictures.  He didn't feel like coming out that day and I certainly want to respect those wishes.  I don't want taking pictures to become a negative thing for him.  But I do miss having his rascally self above.  

Cora's 1st Birthday

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I have been working on Cora's birth story and some things about her first year, but wanted to go ahead and do a post on her birthday and party.  My little girl was sick with roseola on her actual birthday.  I think I was more upset about it than she was, and really, for most of the day she was pretty chipper.  We had planned on taking a trip to the zoo or a family picnic, but decided to just take it easy and stay home.  However, Jaron ran out early before work and grabbed some donuts for us to mark the day as special.  I took the final pictures of Cora and the stuffed pig on her chair that day, and as you will see below, she was quite squirmy.  It's interesting seeing the difference in the pictures from those early months to the most recent ones, because she goes from being kind of a lump to such an energetic force.

For Cora's birthday party, I wanted something simple, with pretty desserts, and surrounded by loved ones.  I had found some ideas on Pinterest of little cakes and diy banners for them.  I had planned on doing this for months and months, but as is usually the case with me, I ended up making the cake banner late the night before.  It probably could have used some tweaking, but there was no more time, and I was okay with that.  My mom made Cora's cake, and it was the same recipe that she used to bake both me and my sister's first birthday cakes (cute).  It was super delicious, and Cora was a big fan!  Our family always helps us pull off birthdays and other celebrations.  This time was no different.  Extra special THANKS to Jaron and my father-in-law for painting a table and chair set that is outside the day before the party (Perhaps this was because the night before that, while on a date with Jaron, I was feeling a little sad and nostalgic about my girl being one and not feeling quite ready for her party, and maybe just maybe, I tearfully said that I had always envisioned her eating her cake outside.  So the next day, Jaron cleaned up the backyard and painted the table, and it made my heart sing.  Also, I'm clearly very much a mess.); and to my mama, mother-in-law, and sister for making all the yummy goodies and confetti, as well as help with cleaning, watching kiddos, and all the other little details that go with this kind of thing.  So, so thankful for all their help!

My sister and her fam so sweetly brought a gift for Emmitt, in addition to Cora.  It was a little outfit with a map and treasure chest on it, and then lots of pirate accessories.  Emmitt made it rain doubloons in his room and I still find them every once in awhile hiding behind a curtain or tucked under the bed (this makes me smile).  And he was using all sorts of pirate terminology and silly voices for the next several days, which was pretty rad.  So really, Cora Marie had a cupcakes and pirates party, and we wouldn't have had it any other way.  As I mentioned, Cora loved the cake and ate it up happily.  At one point, she grabbed two pieces of it, one in each hand, held up both arms and tightly squeezed her little fistfuls of cake, as she looked at everyone and sort of shook and growled with delight.  This is so like our girl.  I've mentioned before that she thinks ALL the parties are for her, so I loved getting to watch our friends and family honor her this day.  I think she had a great time.  And seeing her so glad certainly helped me accept this big milestone.  Happy first birthday, sweet Cora girl!  You are fun and mighty, and we couldn't be happier to get to watch you grow.

*Most pictures were taken by me, except for the birthday party, in which my brother-in-law, Chris took a good deal of them.  Also, this last one, my father-in-law took.  Emmitt chose not to be pictured, as he does sometimes these days.  I'm going to try to be better about noting if other people have taken the pics.  

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