Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday Snapshot: Family Soccer


I heard Kevin Leamon say once that when one member of the family participates in an activity, the entire family participates in that activity.


He meant it as a warning that we over program our families not just by what we put each individual kid in but by how many things the family does as a whole.  In other words, every time a child is at practice during dinner time, the entire family is missing an opportunity to eat dinner together.


As I was sitting at Sam's soccer game Saturday and watching it through my viewfinder,  I pondered his statement and wondered if there might also be a positive spin to it.


Perhaps (with the right balance) when one member of the family participates in an activity, the entire family has an opportunity to embrace that activity too.


 In their own unique way.


Ni Hao Yall

These were taken with my Canon 5D mark ii and my Canon 70-200 2.8 L with IS.  ISO 200 all around f2.8-3.5.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

If Only I Were Capable Enough...

... to get Ruthie a sister.  I have way more than I can handle right now, but I am really starting to think this poor child needs a sister to play with.

It started Sunday when we changed clothes 4 times before she found a dress that she was willing to wear. Then I put her in mini-skirts twice this week and she insisted on leggings underneath and tennis shoes.

Then today it happened.  I went to see her at preschool where they were having a spring festival with face painting.  This is what my little girl chose to have painted on her face.


Can someone please send their daughter (dressed in a dress and something other than tennis shoes) over to my house to influence my sweet girl because apparently my influence is not enough. :)



Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Snapshot: Happy Birthday Sam




Sam's birthday was this week and with all that has been going on around here, I haven't planned an official party yet.  That is not to say, however, that we have not been celebrating and partying it up. 


We started with a party at school that was complete with cupcakes and the class birthday limbo.


Then tonight we had cake with the neighbors in the front yard.  When I asked Sam where he wanted to eat dinner on his birthday, he replied, "the front porch."
 


So we had dinner on the front porch and celebrated at home.  He will have a real party in a few months when things settle down around here. 



These were all taken with my 5D mark ii and 24-70 2.8L.  For the indoor pictures I had my ISO pretty high at 2000 because I forgot my flash (oops).  In the spirit of Sunday Snapshot and trying new things, I ventured away from my favorite Lightroom and edited these in Photoshop.



Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, April 21, 2012

When It Doesn't Go Your Way

Remember that house I told you about 2 months ago? The one we put a contract on and listed our house to get?  Well it didn't go our way and we had to back out of our contract this week, but it was not without a few lessons along the way.

In case you have no idea what I am talking about, I will give you some quick background info.  In February we stumbled upon a foreclosure that was seemingly perfect for our family.  It had a downstairs bedroom for Jack, a pool I could use for therapy with Jack and Ruthie, a big back yard with 2 porches for entertaining groups from the church, and it backed up to a green belt that I could use for photography and not even have to leave my home.  Yep it was pretty perfect and the right price too.  So we put a contract on it and placed ours on the market.

And then it all stopped.  All of the "wow this is really coming together" came to an end real quick as we had to keep lowering the price of our home (below what we paid for it) to generate interest.  Then after only having 4 lookers in 70+ days, we started to really ask if this was the best idea after all.  We were prepared to make 2 house payments for a little while but not for a long time.

So what do you do when it seems to be great but then suddenly stops going your way?  I have learned that you do 2 things:

1. YOU GO BACK TO WHAT YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE.  Emotions make decision-making more fun sometimes but they rarely add wisdom to the process.  So about 2 weeks ago, I started really thinking on what I know to be true.
  • First, God in His Word calls me to be a good steward of my finances.  So I had to start asking the question of was it good stewardship for my family make 2 house payments for an undetermined amount of time? And at what price was it no longer good stewardship to sell my home? 
  • Second, I had to look at my calling at this stage of my life.  God has called me to be a follower of Him, a wife, a mother, a PT, and then a photographer in that order.  If I had to go to work 20 more hours a week to make a 2nd house payment for a year, was I sacrificing what I have been called to? Would I have to sacrifice ministry opportunities abroad and to my children for the sake of comfort and convenience?
2. YOU GAIN PERSPECTIVE.  I think sometimes we can be so focused on our own challenges that we fail to see our days in light of the reality that surrounds us.  Two things happened this week that helped me gain perspective.
  • A good friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer this week.  This makes 5 friends of mine right now who are battling this awful disease.  As she pondered things like treatment and outcomes, I was reminded how blessed we all are for every day we have with our loved ones and how any minute those days can change for eternity. I fear wasting those days laboring to make life more comfortable or trying to keep up with some standard that I think (at that time) would be enough.  
  • My husband said something on Tuesday that really got me thinking.  The challenges we face as a family are 1st-World Problems as opposed to 3rd-World Problems.  Dilemmas we face like which house to buy, where to go out to dinner, is our child going to start in the game, having too much homework or too many places to be are 1st-World Problems!  I would argue that if we have 1st-World Problems, we arguably don't have real problems at all.  I am longing to make a trip to Uganda to show love to women and orphans who don't know where their next meal will come from before they fall asleep on dirt floors.  Those are 3rd-World Problems.  I don't have problems.

So what do you do when you don't know what to do and it doesn't seem to be going your way?  Well, you can make it go your way and live with the consequences of that or you can turn to what you know to be true as your guide and grab hold of the gift of perspective along the way.  

The real gift came in the end when walking away from the house was surprisingly easier than I expected because I believe truth and perspective always win out over regret.   



Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Snapshot- Kindergarten Cuteness

Ni Hao Yall


Sam's Kindergarten Easter egg hunt was rained out the week of Easter so they rescheduled it for last week.  I was actually excited about it because I was going to have to miss the original date but was able to make the new one.   It was pretty cute watching them play with bubbles, draw with sidewalk chalk, and hunt eggs. 








I am crazy about that kid.



These were taken with my 5D mark ii and 24-70 2.8L at ISO 400 f 3.2-3.5 and shutter speed 1/250th to 1/1000th.  I enjoy shooting kids with bubbles because I find it challenging to pick the perfect aperture and shutter speed to keep the moving bubbles in focus.  This is the first time I have taken a picture with him looking through the bubble.  


Monday, April 9, 2012

Not Your Ordinary Easter

I am not going to pretend like my life is any busier than yours, but I will say with confidence that the last 3 weeks have been among the craziest 3 weeks we have ever experienced as a family.  Three jobs and 3 kids tend to keep Trent and I running, but when you put one of those kids in a wheel chair, add a daily 5 hour trip to therapy, and then add trying to buy and sell a house to that, it gets even nuttier.

So somewhere around Thursday I looked up at my husband and declared that I had not purchased supplies for Easter baskets, we were not going to get a chance to dye eggs, and I had no idea what we were going to do for lunch.  Thank heavens one of our precious church members delivered dinner to us the night before that I saved for Sunday afternoon.


So when we woke up, we just got ready for church.  It was Jack's first trip back to church since surgery and that was a big enough deal so hunting eggs would not have fit in there anyway.


Then we came home and went through our Resurrection Eggs that were given to us several years ago.  Each egg has an item inside that helps tell the story of Easter.


Jack read the story while Sam and Ruthie took turns opening eggs.


No one ever asked about an Easter basket or the fact that they didn't have a chocolate bunny.


I think we were all just happy to be together, with nowhere else we had to be, focusing on the true meaning of Easter.



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Getting Better Everyday

I feel like every time someone asks me how Jack is doing, my answer is the same.  He is getting better every day.  Don't get me wrong and think that I am insincere by not having any more to say.  It is really really hard.  I have compared our time at home to bringing home a new baby.  You know it is going to be tough but there is no way to know how tough until you actually experience it. 

The really great part is that over the last 2 weeks just when I think Jack is starting to get really down about things, someone will do something to encourage him.   For example, the amazing folks over at the Weather Channel have been great at sending him encouraging messages.  His sunday school class and class at school have been terrific about sending cards and gifts, and he has had several sweet friends stop by to play with him and keep him company. 

This picture below is from a surprise visit we made to his class one day.  He loved seeing his friends again. 



I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel.  We will decrease our frequency of PT next week from twice a day to twice a week.  He is supposed to attend a 1/2 day or 2 of school next week and he is getting more independent with taking care of himself and getting what he needs.



So thank you to all of you who have been praying for and with us.  We still need your prayers for pain control and functional gains but please know that it really is getting better every day.