Saturday, September 29, 2012


Having a baby put a halt on the photography challenge that I never really did a very good job with anyway. Then, I tried to incorporate my baby into a photography scheme doing the A is for series and lost objects somewhere between books and eggs... Besides, I got the impression that y'all were a little sick of seeing pictures of Ralphie on his belly with obscure objects skewed in front of him. ;)

But when my sweet husband bought me my camera back in January, there was a condition. The condition was that I spend several months learning to use my camera, and slowly work towards beginning a part time photography business. In my ever-practical husband's eye, spending several hundred dollars on a camera was not worthwhile, unless we would eventually get our money back.

This is the same practical husband who said we couldn't visit family in Scotland for vacation over Christmas, but was insistant that I fly to Scotland in early November to help my sister and her family upon the arrival of my new niece.

He really is so sweet. I love him.

So, that's what I've been doing. Little by little. Workshop here, reading there, talking to friends, following other photographers online, and of course, taking as many pictures as I can. It's been a blast, and I have loved every minute of it. Our friends have been especially helpful letting me "practice" on them. This has been the best practice of all. You can read all you want, but nothing replaces experience!

Sooner, rather than later, I'll be launching my very own photography website! I am so excited, though I'll admit, I'm terribly frightened, too.

Beginning a business takes vulnerability. You're putting your heart out on the line, and succeed or fail, there you are.

I'm trusting the Lord will bless this, though. I'm hopeful that it will be something that I can enjoy, and use to serve my family.

As a step forward, to encourage me to continue to use my camera, perfect my brand, and build my online presence, my friend Ashley and I are doing a 365 Project.

Beginning October 1st, for the next year, we will be taking a picture every single day. I will post most pictures to Facebook, and perhaps some on here.

We'd love if you followed along! And if you have a camera, join in the fun! 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Cousins!

Today is a big day over in St Andrews, Scotland. Ralphie's cousins Sebastian and Katharina turn a whole one year old!

We're celebrating State side, though, and wishing we could be over there for cake smashing and present opening, and double the cuteness.

Even Ralphie is sad he's missing out!

Happy Birthday Sebastian and Katharina!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Motherhood is a thousand good things at once. Kisses, snuggles, hugs. Rejoicing at reached milestones,  like rolling, crawling and sitting alone. There are sweet memories: quiet mornings nursing, just the two of us, sunny days playing in the sunshine, and chilly evenings snuggling close to Daddy.

And yet, it is hard. Sin has left its mark, even on these precious little ones. Is he really supposed to cry when I set him down to play alone? Should he be throwing his head back like that, because I took away such-and-such? Is he whining to be picked up... again?

It's evident. O, so evident. We knew when he was born. We were reminded at his baptism. And yet, as Ralphie grows, and learns, and changes, the obvious is now unavoidable.

Our son is a sinner.

He wants his own way. He wants what he wants. He wants to be happy and comfortable on his own terms. On any given day this could mean ten different things!

And so, we teach self control. And patience.

The less of ourselves we seek, the more we will love others. We want him to know this.

Even at seven months.

He does not need Mama every minute of the day. He does not have to have daddy's phone to play with.

It is so hard. So hard to see the big picture sometimes. To think beyond the moment - what am I teaching him as I do (or do not do) this? What patterns am I setting for him?

It is hard, but it is good.

I do not want to get to "the end" when he's all grown up, headed off to college, and wonder if he loves Jesus. I want to know, because he professes, because he lives, because in his life it is self-evident that he serves the King of Kings.

This is my motivation. Day in and day out.

It will only get harder from here on out. Just this morning Daniel asked him, "Are you going to be happy today, buddy?" And at that moment he was. But my response (in my "Ralphie voice") was a reality check for both of us, "O, Daddy, it's going to be a battle every day for the rest of my life. A battle fighting sin."

So we teach and train self-control and patience, because the Gospel isn't about us, and what we want. He'll need to learn to die to himself, so he can live for Christ, so he can serve others. And if our son is going to believe that, he'll need to get over himself and his wants.

Every day is about orienting our hearts away from self and towards Jesus. By God's grace we model, and by God's grace we teach.

We're here to teach and lead him in that way - the way he should go. Gently, firmly, lovingly, consistently. And it starts now, even when he's little.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Last Days of Summer

While everyone else is posting about fall, how it's their favorite season; and they're O, so happy; and isn't it just so wonderful? I'm here reminiscing about summer. Everyone is pulling out their tweed, and their cardigans, donning stockings, and stylin' leather flats. Me? I just repainted my toe nails so I could wear flip flops a week or two more. Because, sure, fall is nice. Cooler weather? Yes, please. But summer is just my favorite. Always has, always will be.

This last week of summer I spent sick. More than likely walking pneumonia. It'll take more than that to send me to a dr, though. So, after spending the first two days in bed, I finally felt strong enough to venture out. The rest of that week practically all Ralphie and I did was soak it all in on the back porch, or walking slowly around the neighborhood.

The end of summer is just glorious in the South... is it better because of the relief from 100 degree days with thru-the-roof-humidity? Maybe. Or, it just could be better period. I don't know.

We have this pecan tree growing in our backyard. The fruit is growing. Soon enough it will be heavy, and ready to be enjoyed. I can't wait. Meanwhile, it attracts these beautiful butterflies. I think they are Southern Pearly Eyes but I'm not certain. Anyone? Anyone? (**coughs** couldn't help it - Can't say anyone without thinking about Ferris Bueller :))

I planted zinnas twice this spring. They are finally a few shoots that have bloomed. Not the dozens I was hoping for, though. Next year, I think I need to space them out more. I'm afraid I choked them. :-/

There are only two things I disagree with Anne Shirley about: The first, our opinions on red hair are polar opposites. The second, zinnas are beautiful.

And there's our friend Sarg the lizard. I thought he had found a new home over the summer, but he must have just been hiding from the heat. We had quite an adventure Wednesday afternoon, when he thought the best was to escape Zoe was to run through the open door and into the house. I screamed bloody murder. Daniel came running, with thoughts of some catastrophe involving Ralphie. He eyed me pretty seriously, and sternly asked if the screaming was necessary when "it's just a lizard." Need I say that did not calm me down much? Just a lizard!?! All the while, I was thanking the good Lord it was not a snake.

So, Daniel got a shoe to kill him, but, truthfully, as long as he's outside, I like him. And it seemed too cruel to kill him just because he accidentally ran into our house. So, I put on rubber gloves and bravely threw him back outside. He's alive, and still hangs out around the back porch. But for some reason, I don't like him as much. :-/

Hopefully this week I'll be feeling more myself.

I fought it to the last, but now that it is fall, I'll say it: Happy Fall, y'all! ;)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bath Time...

... is a blast these days.

I have hair to spike now, see?

Mama just covers me is sweet-smelling bubbles, and tickles my tummy, sings me songs, and makes me giggle.

and then, o, then! When Mama turns on the hose, it is the. best. ever. I can hardly contain my excitement.

 It is really the coolest thing. If you haven't ever tried one, you just have to. It tickles your tummy, and gets you all wet.

and no matter how hard you try to catch it, it always escapes!

I know lots of kids don't like bath time, but me, O, yes! I try to get as dirty as possible every day, just so Mama with give me a bath before bed.

And most nights she does, just 'cause she loves to see me smile.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Maura and Michael

Last Friday, Ralphie and I spent our afternoon in Charlotte with Maura and Michael. It was Michael's 8th birthday, too, so it seemed especially great to be able to be with them. We started with froyo for Michael's birthday, and then went to Latta Park - our all time favorite after school hang out.

They're both growing like crazy, and Michael, especially, seems more mature and thoughtful to me. Maura is a LEVEL 4 in gymnastics, Michael is about to receive his red belt in Tae Kwon Do, they both love their teachers this year, and, of course, are as busy as ever. It's so good to see then doing so well.

Monday, September 17, 2012

First 5K!

Saturday I ran my first 5K!

My friend Carolyn talked me into it. I had started training back in June, kind of got distracted, didn't want to pay the registration fee, and then just forgot all about it. Until last Wednesday night. She talked me into it, though it really didn't take much effort. I have this love-hate relationship with running. It's so hard for me, but so good for me. 

 The morning of the race my stomach was in knots. I complained to Daniel that I'd never be able to finish, that I wasn't ready, and a million other excuses. He reminded me my goal was only to finish, and that time didn't matter, "Besides, a 5K is easy. Anyone can do a 5K. You're going to be fine." My grumpy retort at 7am that morning was that "my short, chubby legs" do not make it easy. :-P

But, I finished. Carolyn and I talked the whole way - or she talked to me, mostly. :) We didn't walk once! Our final time was somewhere around 33 minutes. About an 11 minute pace. Slow and steady, right?

We're already planning for another one - Daniel may even do it, too!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Daniel's Birthday | A Weekend in Michigan

We had this wonderful plan at the end of August that we were so excited for. It consisted of a lot of driving, but a lot of family visiting, and we were all looking forward to it. Unfortunately, things fell through and we didn't think we were going to be able to make it at all - to Michigan to see my family, or to Ohio to see Daniel's. Last minute we decided to make the trip up to Michigan anyway, for one last hurrah for the 2012 summer.

We celebrated Daniel's 27th birthday, too!

I miserably failed in my efforts to get pictures of everyone. Plenty of babies, very few adults, but I'm consoling myself with the thought that next summer these three blue-eyed babes will be busy toddlers, and one can never have too many pictures of a baby!

Lots of play time...

...s'mores by the fire, and midnight chats on the back deck

Crushed oreo cookie mixed into decadent fudge syrup, sandwiched between 3 layers of Bryer's mint chocolate chip ice cream, topped with mint oreos and Hershey's syrup. O. My. Word. Dairy Queen didn't stand a chance.

O, how I love him. :)

And with the blink of an eye summer is gone. It was a good one, that's for sure. I never like when summer ends. Eventually, I must reconcile myself to the facts.  When the humidity is replaced with the quick, brisk breezes that bring cooler weather, I begin to remember how lovely autumn is, especially in the South. Autumn promises to bring good things this year, too.