Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Heart Faces: Best Face 2011

Of course, my favorite pictures are the one's I've just done- whatever I've just done.  But I'm in love with this shot of my sweetest little man (He and his sister are my best works of art yet!), and am happy that I can now bribe him to pose for me...  or at least sit still long enough to snap a couple of shots.

Go check out the other entries for "best face of 2011" over at I Heart Faces!

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge & Photography Tutorials

Monday, December 26, 2011

Chest Complete

This is a bragging post about my husband.

Look how awesome my husband is, yall!  I swear, everything he decides to do, he does really well.  I'm sure it doesn't have anything to do with his extreme perfectionist personality- lol.  He just bought wood working tools since moving here and the only other project he's done is a sewing/craft desk for me.  So for a second project, I am in love with this toy chest!

And to think of it's humble beginings...

I'm not going to go into too much detail since I really don't know what I'm talking about but I will tell the making of the toy chest from my eyes.

So first, after carefully studying each peice of wood he chose like color/pattern pieces and glued them together.  Then he had to take the larger planks and sand them down to make them smooth so you almost can't even tell it's more than one piece of wood!

Do that x 6 for all the sides, top and bottom.  Then he used a dovetail jig to cut dove tails into the sides.  He says that it's the strongest joint you can make...  this toy box is going to last!  Look how pretty the dove tails are!  I just love the details.  Once all the dove tails were cut, he glued all the sides together.  Then came all the finishing touches..  putting in a sliding dove tail key(?), varnishing, painting, and putting the super hard core hinges on and Voila!!!  He bought hinges that make it open and close like a laptop, so no pinched fingers here!

 Ahhh.  Now let's put it to use!!

 Next up, a bed for my little girl...  ahh hem, soon to be big girl (at least a little girl in a big girl bed).

I'm liking this hobby of his!


Friday, December 23, 2011

A little Catch-Up

John has been dying for me to get a blog up about our travels.  As you may have noticed, I've been such a slacker about the blog since I found out about Evangeline..  I guess I just associate blogging now with pouring my heart out and it's kind of exhausting.  So forgive me if I keep things pretty light for a while, I need the break.

Back in August, one of John's buddies from college was getting married.  The wedding was to be held in Whitefish, MT and as we google mapped the town we realized a couple of things. 1.) It was pretty much in the middle of nowhere and 2.)  It was in the middle of nowhere with lots of mountains, valleys, rivers, gorges---  which makes it the perfect spot for a pretty amazing National Park!  Glacier National Park to be precise!  We had heard raves about the place and though we were able to frequent the National Parks in Utah when we lived there, Glacier was always high on our list!  So we RSVP'd a solid YES for just the two of us!  The kids needed some Nani time anyhow and we will always enjoy the "us" time!  We went out for about a week and around all the wedding festivities, we'd take day trips over to the park for hiking, rafting and picture taking.  The first night we got there, we rushed to the park for a 1.5 mile (one way) hike called the Hidden Lake overlook.  We ran into a photographer on the way in and my interest was peaked.  I love portrait and lifestyle photography but this was really a first when it came to getting serious with landscape photography (layman's speak for I have NO IDEA what I'm doing).  While we walked, I fired questions at the photographer in hopes to pick up some tips.  He fed me some info but said that he'd been coming to the same spot all week in hopes of getting "THE" shot but it just hadn't panned out for him yet.  John and I stopped along the trail and I started shooting the locals while the other guy continued on his trek.

While I was at that spot, the sun got lower and lower in the sky so we hunkered down for a bit in hopes of getting some good shots at sunset.  I felt like I was exhausting the panorama that I was working on so we packed up and started heading back...  About 10 minutes into our hike back, I turned around to see the sky doing some amazing things that hadn't been present just 10 minutes ago.  With John's encouragement, we turned and rushed back to the site we had sat before.  This was a lesson on patience for me because I almost missed the most amazing sunset I think I've ever seen because I just wasn't being patient.  Once I set up the tripod and took my series of the same panorama shots as before, I knew that turning around was a brilliant idea.  WOW!  The difference of colors was out of this world!  God blessed us with a perfect picture in which I was trying to capture!

This was the difference the 15 minutes made.  The left was the last shot I took before leaving and the right was the first shot I took after we came back!!  It only got more dramatic after this shot!

So the final panorama image result is this:
Taaaa daaaaa!  We blew this up to a 12x60 inch photo that will be framed and on our wall once we get a custom frame for it!

And that was only the first day in Glacier!

The rest of out trip I will sum up in pictures (because I'm tired of typing).


Friday, December 16, 2011

Kids at Play

Ahhh....  Childhood.  How I love reliving it's magic through my own kids (and a lens of course)!
Hope you have time to stop and enjoy this Christmas season!

Thankful for my kids...
and especially for His son whom we call Savior!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Peace in the Wake...

Today is my birthday.  It's been a month now since the birth of my little angel, Evangeline.  In another month is when Evangeline was actually due.  I would have liked to update sooner but life doesn't have the courtesy to slow down- which I guess is a good and bad thing.  Bad because I would like a little more time to myself to reflect and pray and just be in the presence of God after such a traumatic and life changing event.  Good because being back in the throws of life has kept me busy and not allowed me to be down.  All in all, I am at peace.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  Romans 15:13

I finished "Heaven is For Real" and little Colton Burpo's account of heaven has helped my heart in the healing process by such a simple assurance that heaven is in fact for real!  It really is a beautiful thing to know that Evangeline is in a more beautiful place than we can even fathom now with God (sidenote: I love the name in the Bible used for God as Abba- translated "daddy"), and Jesus, and gosh my Pop-pop and Grand-dad and who knows who else!!  I pray at night for God to kiss my baby girl, and I know that he does.  I totally recommend that book.  It's a quick and easy read.  Short chapters- which I like because I don't have much reading time and short chapters makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere.  The book has revitalized my prayer life and my view of God even!

We have been so taken care of and so blessed through everything!  The night we came home from the hospital, empty handed and heavy hearted we walked into a clean house, a fridge stocked and a hot meal waiting for us on the counter.  That isn't light work...  I should preface that with the fact that John was on TDY and I tend to let house chores slide a little while he's gone, so that and feeling terribly uncomfortable the morning my water broke adds up to a pretty messy house.  We didn't have to worry about meals for a while with so many people bringing us food, enough for our family plus all the family and friends we had visiting!  We have felt wrapped in the arms of grace and we continue to be so blessed by the prayers of intercession.  We are touched by everyone who has donated to SOFT and by our squadron's 31 bags event which donated $700 to Trisomy18 Foundation.  This is so dear to our hearts and it means so much to us that people would make it dear to theirs too.  John and I have been brought together through this experience and are more passionately in love today than ever!  Everything that has gotten us to this point are things that I worried about.  And the love and compassion that we've been shown is just a beautiful testament to God and His perfect plan.  I believe that He's been preparing me for a long time to carry Evangeline.  Even back to my college days, I recall a friend of mine describing me as "boggled."  He said that to him it meant that I could have all my money stolen and gotten beaten up and still keep a smile on my face.  God built me so that this would not break me.   I was never a "kid" person but once Riley arrived God gave me an intense love for the precious life that He had given me.  He knew that I wouldn't abort Evangeline, that I'd love her and give her every chance.  Even with my scare during my pregnancy with Scarlett, when my 20 week ultrasound revealed some Choroid Plexus cysts and the doctor first informed me of Trisomy 18- that was God's provision to open my eyes to something I had never heard of before and learn about it well ahead of the time that I would need the information.  God has given me friends with resources that are invaluable- some having mutual friends who have had Trisomy babies and provide mutual support and encouragement, another with a job that deals with handling my other two kids and how to talk to them about Evangeline, etc.  God really is good.  Had it not been for Evangeline and the heart-ache and vulnerabilty I had to (and continue to) face, I would not have felt all the overwhelming love and support poured out for us and the deeper relationship I've gained with my Lord and Savior!

I added a couple of songs to my playlist.  There were a couple of songs that I couldn't add so I'll leave you with the lyrics to this song:

Strong Enough- Matthew West

You must  
You must think I'm strong  
To give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do  
On my own

I know I'm not strong enough to be
everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up I'm not stong enough  
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be  
Strong enough  
Strong enough For the both of us

Well, maybe  
Maybe that's the point  
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out

Cause I'm broken Down to nothing  
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God and you are strong When I am weak
I can do all things Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be Strong enough


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dear Evangeline

Dear  Evangeline,

This past year has been the biggest roller coaster ride of my life, marred with the highest of highs and lowest of lows.  Your daddy and I were so thrilled when we found out that you were growing in my belly, but  our love for you began even before that day.  As the weeks passed and we got glimpses of your sweet, tiny body on ultrasound and heard your strong little heart beating, we grew more and more enamored with you.  Then one day back in July, a 1 in 6000 chance turned into our walk.  We were the ONE!   Your daddy and I never even considered for a second to turn our backs on you and we knew that we were given the great and precious responsibility to love you wholly for every moment of your life- no matter how long or short it may be.  This diagnosis made me rethink so many things and your little life growing inside me inspired me to pour out all my love and hold nothing back for Riley, Scarlett, John and all the relationships in my life.  Last Saturday, the day you were born, I was shocked and scared and I wished that you could have stayed inside the safety of my womb for a few more months.  But when I took you in my arms, I was overwhelmed with complete love and adoration and I couldn’t take my eyes off of you.  You were so tiny and helpless.  With underdeveloped lunges, your sweet little face was a little purple but you kept on fighting, working for every breath you took.  I cherished every second I got to spend with you. 

Before you were born, many of my thoughts would  hover around all the hopes and prayers I had for you.  I had hoped that you would be a well tempered baby and toddler.  I prayed that you would be healthy.  I hoped that in school you would be driven and smart.  I mourned as I realized that these would not have a chance to play out.  But at the time of your passing, when I knew that you were no longer with me and now in the arms of our Lord I rejoiced that my biggest prayer had been answered.  As a parent I hoped and prayed that one day you would find a saving salvation through knowing Jesus Christ.  And I know that you are there with Him now.

In the past couple of weeks, I have had a number of people suggest the book, Heaven is for Real (by Todd Burpo).  We got it just the other day and last night I decided to open it up and read the prologue.  It was of a family who was driving by a hospital where an emergency surgery a year before almost claimed the life of their 3, almost 4 year old son. As they drove past, they were trying to light heartedly joke about the trip with the son and through this dialog, the boy begins to reveal his memories of his hospital stay to his parents.  He recalled angels singing at the request of Jesus, to calm the scared child and when prompted about Jesus, he matter of factly recounted that he sat on the lap of Jesus while these angels sang.  He recalled what he saw his parents doing while he was under anesthesia during the surgery which had shocked his parents since they were not in the operating room and their son knew where both of them were, even though they were in separate rooms alone.  I bawled, of course reading this detailed account of this little boy but what comfort that brought me.  I knew it!  I was right!  Every night when I pray that God kiss you and hug you and show you the love that I physically can not do anymore, how awesome is it to know that you are in the arms of Jesus and His love is far greater than anything I have ever known. 

You have made such a giant impact on my life, Evangeline Faith and I just praise God for allowing me to be your mommy.  I look forward to seeing you, whole and perfect, without sickness, or disease or disorder, one day when God takes me home.

Your Mommy


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Back in the saddle again

Just a quick post to show you what we've been up to since we have been home...

 We've been going to the park and checking out (chasing and catching) the local wildlife

We've been taking lots of baths...

And we've just generally been cheesing it up in front of the camera!

Life doesn't slow down around these parts!