Sunday, January 31, 2010





The girls were playing tonight and Justin and I had the Grammys on in the background. We obviously love the Grammys. When Pink came on to perform, both girls stopped dead in their tracks, sat down, and silently watched the performance. It was a cool performance, but it was funny how captivated by it they were. They both seem to love music. And Lucy has great taste in music, but she wears a song out like nobodys business. Her absolute all time favorite song is Yellow, by Coldplay. Awesome song, but I can barely stand the sound of it now because we have to listen to it so much.

Quick question. I am watching the Bon Jovi/Jennifer Nettles performance right now. There are three of them all singing into the same microphone. The only thing I can think when I see people sharing a microphone is that it would be so gross to be that close to their breath and you know they are spitting on each other. Ick. Anyone else ever had such a thought? So random, but it always crosses my mind when I see such a thing.

For those of you that asked about the cleanse I am doing, it is THIS. We did great with eating today. Yeah! I had an egg white omelette for brunch after church today that only had veggies in it. The whole thing was under 350 calories. And for dinner I made homemade chicken noodle soup. Yummy. It needed more salt, but that was an easy fix. Both girls ate it really well and everything in it was organic and fresh. I got all kinds of things at the store today that I have never bought before. I am about to be so healthy you aren't going to recognize me!! :) We are even going to visit a gym tomorrow. Wow!

The other thing that I did today was completely clean out my pantry, fridge and freezer. It felt awesome. Tons of the stuff in the pantry was unopened, and I am giving it to our church tomorrow for their food drive. It shouldn't just go in the trash, so now someone can have it, just not us! The fridge is stocked with organic fruits and veggies. The pantry has all kinds of weird grains and rices in it. Emily - I even got a Moosewood cookbook and we are going to do at least 2 vegetarian dinners a week. I hope to shed the 8 lbs I gained last year. I just feel so flabby and bloated all of the time, but that is all changing! Woo hoo! I seriously am so motivated to do this.

Saturday, January 30, 2010



Last night I finally watched the movie Food, Inc. I agree with others who say that it is an absolute must see. It is shocking and totally disturbing but it is information that no one in America should be without for another minute. It will change the way you view food forever. I honestly hope that the feeling that I have right now sticks with me forever because I don't want to go back. I don't want to go back to viewing fast food as quick and convenient. I don't want to go back to be addicted to sugar and constantly craving it. And I certainly don't want to go back to exposing my girls to such things at such a young age. They deserve better, Justin deserves better, and I deserve better.

So, after watching it, here is my plan. First, there is no way we are going to realistically become vegetarians. The movie doesn't say to do that, but you feel like you should after seeing it. What we are going to do, is reduce the amount of meat that we consume and I will only be buying meat from Whole Foods from now on. No ifs ands or buts about that one. We will only be eating free range, organic chicken and when we do have beef, it will be from grass fed cows. I am not sure I can go back to pork after seeing and hearing the pig slaughter house in NC. That was more than I could handle. I am sure we will still occasionally eat pork, but again, only from Whole Foods.

Fast food is out. It is just too disgusting and too easy to rely on and I am over it. Chickfila is one of my favorite places, but I just can't handle chicken filled with antibiotics and hormones after seeing that movie. I really don't want the girls eating it.

Tomorrow morning I am starting a 14 day cleanse from Whole Foods. It is just pills that you take in the morning and evening. Some day I would love to do a more disciplined detox, but this is all I can handle at the moment. The lady working there told me it was a really great choice and that I would definitely notice the difference. I will keep you posted on that.

We will be eating a boat load of fresh veggies and fruits from now on. I am also reading the book Eat This and Live. My mom sent it to me and I literally can't put it down. It is an easy read and I will have it done by tonight. I am taking notes of all of the foods and supplements that I will be getting for this upcoming week. I can honestly say that I am excited for this change. I know we will all feel better and our bodies deserve to be treated better.

If you haven't seen the movie, please go and rent it. Seriously, you need to. The girls weren't into pictures today, so you just get Bianca. The rain and cold and ugliness of the past many days is making them a tad nuts. We will be ready to get some fresh air asap.

Friday, January 29, 2010



Every night when both girls are in bed, I fall on our bed and breathe a deep breath and relish in the silence of the house. I love that moment of each day. The girls have really been so great lately, so our days have been lots of fun, but even in the easy times, the silence of the evening is still so heavenly.

Lucy didn't nap today, but she was okay until the very end of the day. She was a little more snappy with Annie, but overall she was fine. I was working in our room while she was supposed to be napping and I listened to her read herself about 20 books and sing herself about 100 songs. Then I heard her little feet heading my way. She popped into our room and says, "Momma, I didn't really nap today. But that's okay!"

She was such a chatterbox all day today. She actually told me all about her day at school, which is not the norm. She is normally very tight lipped about what happens at school. Then after her rest, she talked and talked and talked some more. When she gets like this, the most random things come out of her mouth. In the middle of her ramblings, she says this:

I really hope that John and Wy Wy can come and visit at my house one day.
Do you think their mom will ever let them? (I would answer her but she doesn't pause for one second)
I really hope that she will. Or I could go to their house, right mom?
Momma, do you know what I really hope for? (Again, no time for an answer from me)
I really hope that next year you will put a star on our Christmas tree. I really want a star on our tree.

Lee Lee has a star on her tree and obviously our tree topper just ain't cuttin it for Lucy. I certainly didn't know that it bothered her so much that a month after the tree was down she would totally randomly bring it up. We were not discussing anything Christmas related at any point. She went on to spout out anything that crossed her mind for the next 30 minutes. These conversations are my favorite when Justin is around, which he wasn't today. He just looks at me with this look of: Why do all girls talk so freakin much and what have you done to get her to talk this much already? Bwahahahahaha. He is in for it once Annie figures out the whole talking thing.

Annie has been doing so well lately. Her death cling to me has reduced drastically. She has been back to her happy little self. She has been trying very hardly to get more words out. I love hearing her work it out as she learns to say things.

It has been storming all day for two days now. It is really cold and dark outside. We got a VERY fun package in the mail that I want to show off to everyone, but I have to wait until I have some light to do that.

We all wore rain boots today.

Do you see Bruiser down there? He ALWAYS has an eye on this crazy girl.

Bath time is loads of fun with these two monkeys.




Lucy likes to "help" rinse Annie. She gets a great thrill out of dumping the water on her head.........

but Annie loves for Lucy to help with anything.

I cannot get this child to not drink the bath water. Yuck!



This is so funny!


Thursday, January 28, 2010



Sorry for the late post from me tonight. A dear friend from high school recently moved here, and she came over for dinner with me and the girls tonight. I was happy that she decided to stay for bath and bedtime so that we could visit kid free for a while afterwards. We had so much fun and I was laughing all night long. I love reconnecting with friends that I haven't spent time with in a long time and being able to just pick back up. I think I am going to bribe her to let me do a photo shoot with her because she is so gorgeous and I think it would be so much fun. She has always been a fan of the camera, so I bet she will let me. When we were about 10, Anna and I did a photo shoot of each other and the pictures are the funniest thing I have ever seen. I think we could really do something amazing now, though.

I am so tired I will have to write more tomorrow. My little bed buddy just showed up to climb into bed with me with all of her blankees and pillows in tow so I am off to snuggle with her for a minute. She has her jammies unzipped because she says she was hot earlier. Cute girl!! :) I have been staying up so late all week and it is finally catching up with me. Nighty night.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010



I rushed Lucy outside this afternoon when the sun peaked out for just a second because it is supposed to get really yucky around here the next few days. Boo. We are apparently going back to really cold and storming. I love the light in these. Pretty stuff and it makes me long for spring weather when the sun will be out all of the time.

I made a roast in the Le Crueset dutch oven today that was DELISH! And I think I should make a note of Annie's eating. The child has turned into the most ravenous carnivore that I have ever seen. She wants almost nothing but meat. It is totally bizarre to me, but the child will eat 4 or 5 helpings (big helpings) of whatever the meat is we are having for dinner. She will flip out in her highchair until we bring her more. She loves chicken, pork, beef, fish, turkey. Anything. I really need to do a post on how Lucy and Annie are polar opposites in literally every possible way. Lucy has almost always been a self made vegetarian. Lately she has changed on this a little, but for the most part she could easily do without meat.

I am not feeling the blog tonight, so that is about it.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010



Just a quick post tonight to say that both girls really loved their first day of gymnastics. Lucy was a champ! She did perfectly fine on her own with her little class. At the beginning of the class they did stretches, I think the teacher's jaw hit the ground when she saw how flexible Lucy is. I swear she is made of rubberbands. I am always so proud of her because her teachers always compliment her on being such a wonderful listener. Sweet girl. Now Annie, she was all over the place, but she is with me and still so little, I fully expected that on day one. We'll see how she does after a few weeks of getting used to how things work. And just for the record, I do of course realize that Lucy is wearing a dance leotard, not a gymnastics one. But I have three steadfast rules when it comes to dressing my girls:

1. No neon
2. No crushed velvet
3. No mesh

If you can find my a gymnastics outfit without one of those things, PLEASE let me know. I haven't looked extensively, but so far that is all that I can find, so we went with a standard dance outfit and skirt. Much cuter.

I have a fun, fun, fun blog that I want you guys to check out. Nicolle is doing a 365 Project with her flip video camera. Each day she posts a video of something from her day. Some days they are totally random, but that is why I love it so much. THIS video is especially hilarious to me. She can do some pretty cool editing and I always love what she has to say. I would pay attention to her because some day she is going to be a big country star! She is a song writer and musician. Some days you are lucky enough to see her in action on the videos. I know Nicolle because she is from the same teeny tiny town in Kansas that both of my parents are from. It had been a million years since I had seen her (like she was a little kid when I saw her) and then she met Justin through the music scene in Nashville. Really, it is a small world out there. Anyway, her blog is all kinds of fun and I think you should add it to your reader so you can see what she comes up with each day. If you think taking a picture each day is hard, editing a video everyday is a million times harder, so go and cheer her on!

I am off to watch The Biggest Loser. Have a great night!




She went right to these when we got there and wanted so badly to be able to reach them.



Monday, January 25, 2010


She takes my breath away. Every day. Over and over. They both do.

I love Mondays because it is my Bible study morning and it just gets my week started in the right direction. I feel like I get focused and refreshed every Monday morning that I make it to this group of Moms. This semester, we are studying the book of James. As I said yesterday, I have not spent a lot of time studying the Bible, so I am happy we are tackling a book that I feel like I can really apply to my life. James is a really short book of the Bible, so we are breaking it down in really small segments each week. This week we looked at James 1:1-18. The verses talk about facing trials in life and turning to God to get you through them without doubting Him. This is huge for me. Whenever I hear of something really horrific happening to people, I have found myself doubting God and what in the world He is doing. But what I need to be doing is turning into Him and His love to find peace and wisdom.

This point was really amplified when one of the moms in the group spoke out about going through something that, as a mother, I can't even begin to imagine - the loss of a child. Remember when I mentioned before Christmas about the infant son of one of the Bible study's mom being in the hospital? Well, that sweet baby boy was taken to heaven to be with Christ shortly after Christmas. And his mom was back at Bible study today with her precious infant daughter (the little baby's twin sister). And as we all discussed going through trials in life and how we have handled it, I think the whole room was wondering what she must be thinking. And then she opened up to a room of 55 women and spoke of how this was was the most awful thing that she could have ever imagined happening but how through it all, she has found herself in the deepest relationship with Christ that she has ever had. And let me just tell you, she and her family already had a remarkable faith, one that I admire and aspire to be like. But now, she told us how she finds herself clinging to God to get her through every single minute of the day. And she said that she is now so thankful for things that she has never even thought about in the past - like getting some sleep at night or having the mental strength to just walk through the door into Bible study. Oh how I hope to have faith like hers one day.

I had three people in mind as I was in that class this morning. The mom I just spoke about, a dear friend of mine who lost her baby in the 38th week of pregnancy this past summer (today that little girl would have been 7 months old), and the husband of Amy Wenzel, who is the photographer who put on the workshop that I went on this past September - her husband's name is David Wenzel. Before I get started on David, Amy just posted on her blog, which I linked to above, her spring workshop dates. If you are looking for a workshop to attend, PLEASE check her out. She is amazing. Beyond amazing and she teaches you everything that she possibly can in a few days with her. My photography changed after that workshop. I learned so much.

Anyway, back to her husband, David, who I got to meet at the workshop. Last year he was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. After extensive research and prayer, David and Amy decided that the best way to treat his cancer was through alternative medicine. I beg you to go and read his blog that I linked to above. David and Amy have an amazing relationship with Christ. David is fully confident that God has lead him to the path that he is on with his treatment. He also says that the brain cancer has changed his relationship with God so much for the better that he wouldn't go back to life before the cancer. He would never choose to have inoperable brain cancer, but because of it, his faith has become so much more rich. I couldn't get him out of my mind this morning during our discussion about this passage in James. God is very proud of David, Amy, and the two moms that I have mentioned and all they are doing with their lives. They inspire me in more ways than I will ever be able to explain. My faith has forever changed because of people like I have mentioned in this post.

I know my blog has turned into me talking a lot about faith lately. Honestly, it is kind of strange for me because I have never talked so much about it publicly before now. I just have felt like writing down what I am actually feeling right now. I am kind of documenting the growth that I am doing in my relationship with Christ. I really feeling like it is changing so much for the better and I kind of want to shout it from the mountain tops. So, that is what is going on with me at the moment.


This scene right here, ALWAYS equals trouble.

There is no chance she is getting into something she is supposed to be. And can I just say it again, this girl is TROUBLE!

I ♥ Faces - Texture

This week the theme at I ♥ Faces is using textures in your photography. To be perfectly honest, textures added during post processing are one of those things that I see some other photographers do, and I love it, but I struggle doing to my own photographs. I started playing with it again last week with a few images of the girls because I knew this theme was coming up. I have purchased several sets of incredible textures because the artists that created them have inspired me so much. But then I get them and I am overwhelmed by them and I just stop trying. But I am inspired again and think I will start trying again. The textures used on this image of precious Samuel are from Flora Bella's fine art textures original set. I used Elysium {b&w} on soft light and French Canvas {b&w} on overlay, both at reduced opacities and both removed from the face using the Gaussian blur technique that was taught when you purchase the textures. I think my main drawback to textures is that I often see them overdone on images. But when someone knows what they are doing with them, like Shana and many others that I follow on Flickr, they add a magical quality to photos. I am still working on that!


Sunday, January 24, 2010




I am so unbelievably proud of Annie today because she went to the church nursery, cried for a very short period, and then did really well. This is the first time ever that we haven't been buzzed on our pager to come and get her. I obviously tell the staff that if she is hysterical for 15 minutes, to please page me. And they always do. But not today!!! AND, she didn't cry when we came to get her. She smiled and then she waved goodbye to the sweet staff that loves on her. When I asked her how she did, they told me that they had to stroll her around a bit (which is what they do with any babies that are upset) and they stopped in the little baby room for a bit and she was so pleased that she got to "help" with the babies that she was a happy girl after that. Annie LOVES babies, both real and pretend, so I am not at all surprised by this. Also, she is such a social child, that I knew if she would ever give it a chance, she would love church. I think she did better this week because Lucy gave her a pep talk the entire car ride to church that went, "Annie, church is soooo much fun. Don't worry, Mommy and Daddy will always come back to get us." Killing me with sweetness.

Church was awesome again this week. I went back to the contemporary service, and Justin agreed to come with me. We both really miss the organ and choir when we aren't at the traditional service, but the sermon is absolutely worth it to me. This was Justin's first time there, and he really liked the pastor and the sermon. The question in the sermon this week was "How do I know what God's will is for my life?" The message was powerful and what I really, really walked away with was that I have got to turn to God's word. I have really never spent the time studying the Bible that I should. I do a mom's group that I call my Bible study, but this is the first semester that we are actually studying a book of the Bible. We usually choose a book on a Christian topic, like prayer or marriage. I have always had an excuse as to why I didn't spend time with my Bible, but today I decided no more excuses. I went to Barnes & Noble during nap and decided on a One Year Study Bible. Until I get caught up for this year, I am going to read two or three days worth of reading. I did two while I was at B&N and there was no chance of distraction by little people. I actually feel really excited about doing this and know that God will be revealed to me in ways I have never experienced. Yay!!

The girls took great naps and we have just been lazy around the house this afternoon, watching football and putting on "shows." Lucy loves to give us each a job, and then she is the announcer, and we all do a little performance. It is very funny and she was in rare form this afternoon/evening. Lots of fun when they are in such awesome moods.

The past three days I have been overwhelmed with feelings about the girls' birth mothers. I never know why exactly these days come, but they do and it has been a constant the past few days. I think because both girls have been so much fun the past few days, that I find myself watching them and consumed by feelings of amazement that I am their mom and that somewhere in Vietnam, they have another mom. Today as Annie stopped everything she was doing to watch the National Anthem performance, I just sat on the couch and watched her in awe. She stood there and pretended like her Backyardigan toy was a microphone and just "sang" along with all of her little heart. Then she giggled about it and carried on with her business. And last night as Lucy was dancing naked in the bathroom after bath giggling her precious little laugh, I did the same thing. I just sat with my back against the wall and watched her love life to the fullest. And then I am sad that their birth mothers will never have these memories that I get to have with these girls because my goodness, they are both so unbelievably amazing and I hate for anyone to miss it, but her especially. But I also feel so blessed, thankful, and happy that we get to be their parents. That is the thing about adoption that is hard for me, there is always a bit of sadness knowing that the girls have lost so much to get to be with us and that they have another momma somewhere that is missing seeing just how amazing the child that she created is. I just wish we knew more about their birth mothers. That part is so hard for me and I always wonder if it will be hard for them, too. I hugged them both extra tight tonight. I just love them so much that it makes my heart feel like it is going to burst wide open. They are both so special.

Wow. This feels like a long post. I absolutely adore the images from today. The light in our bedroom at 4:30 this afternoon with the white sheets on the bed being a natural reflector was simply perfect. My suddenly WAY too big girl, Lucy, painted her own nails. She was beaming with pride when she was done and it was perfect because Annie was still napping at that point and not in her way. Then Annie woke up and was so sweet reading books on the bed. I love day to day photos that are actually beautiful, and that is how these are to me today.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and that the spirit of the Lord fills your heart with happiness and love.