Friday Favorites

I love our sunrises. Maybe it’s because we have property here and don’t live in a neighborhood but it satisfies something in my soul when I see the early morning sun breaking through the trees.

Yesterday, Claire and I made a trip into Houston for a 4-H field trip. Yep, that’s right. I drove into the city, a major city, I might add. The interstate is an fascinating mess but people actually know how to drive it which means everything keeps moving even though there is a ton of traffic. And the skyline is so amazing.

We went to the museum of natural science for the Ramses exhibit. After all our years at Trinitas studying ancient Egypt is was really interesting to see all of the artifacts and mummies.

The museum is huge and after we finished up the planned portion of the visit a group of us did the butterfly center which was super fun. I love butterflies and the museum has created a really beautiful habitat to enjoy them in. I did hesitate going in because their sign said something about free roaming reptiles and I was not sure I was okay with that. Turns out they have an iguana that has free reign of the place so it was all good.

It had been a long day but we still wanted to take a turn through the dinosaur exhibit. Those creatures really were huge.

We thought we were done at this point but then a few of the kids came running up and said we just HAD to go see the hall of gems and minerals as well as the Everyday Faberge exhibit. They were so right and I was so happy we didn’t miss them. All the sparkle 🥰

I am always amazed more and more by God’s creation activity looking at what are basically rocks that He made. The myriad of colors and textures…it is mind boggling!

I do wish they had a before picture to accompany each one. I know they don’t come out of the ground looking like this and I bet it is fascinating to see the process.

Look at this chunk of opal! Isn’t it gorgeous?

And then you can see all the incredible ways man uses these stones to make beautiful and elaborate jewelry.

These are all rings. Aren’t they pretty?

Tiaras and necklaces too, oh my!

There were also some more delicate “everyday” pieces like some very lovely cigarette cases or calling card cases.

I loved this little broach watch made with rubies. The exhibit has a tiny mirror set up under it to reflect the watch on the back.

All in all it was a good trip but our timing was off a little bit. One, I think it is smarter to spend more than one day there and two, do not go at the end of the school year. There were gobs of schools there and it was crowded.

I definitely want to go back and visit the museum district as a whole and Houston in general. There just seems like there is so much to do!

Have a good weekend y’all!

Friday Favorites ~ Emily & Hays

15 days to go!

We are so excited for Em and Hays’ big day but it seems a bit surreal to be staring down the barrel of barely two weeks until the wedding. I have people asking me frequently how I am handling everything and if it’s all crazy stressful. Honestly, that stressed me out more because I wasn’t and it made me wonder if I was supposed to only I wasn’t because I wasn’t doing something I was supposed to be doing.

I’m sure the next two weeks will get a bit chaotic as we finish up some last minute little things but it has been a fairly easy process. Partly due to Emily not being anything other than a laid back low maintenance bride and partly because of our wonderful friend who is the creative talent behind Soiree by AJ who is our wedding planner and coordinator. I just know that everything is going to be beautiful.

Sweet Em is a bit exhausted from all of the running back and forth and she is completely over wedding planning. We laughed because when they got engaged we thought 6 months was so quick but goodness, people who take longer are either completely crazy or something. Enough already, let’s have a wedding instead of just endless conversations and decisions!

We were originally going to do Emily’s bridal portraits this weekend while I am in Monroe for a bridal shower given by Hays’ church but the weather has not cooperated and there was a snafu with her bridal veil not arriving. But talking about it did remind me that I shared very few of the engagement pictures I did for them back in November. So today’s Friday favorites are a few of my faves from that day. In no particular order…

I love getting shots like this when a couple is really laughing. Add to it being black and white and I am in love with the final result.

If I had had any doubt about the beauty of the state of Louisiana it was put to rest the afternoon we did their pictures. The bayous are simply gorgeous and Hays & his mama knew exactly where the best spots were for pictures. Especially that time of year with the gorgeous colors.

My girl seems to have a wee bit of sass going…

And thank you to whomever lives on the other side of the bayou and thought it was a good idea to put those little lights along your decking. It was and I love this picture the most I think.

We are so excited for Emily and Hays and we are looking forward to celebrating God’s kindness in leading them to each other with the ones we love. See y’all in a couple of weeks!

Abby ~ Part Three

Here are the last of her pictures from our magical session in January. The light was fading but we moved onto the beach and, despite being a little chilly,  Abby was a trooper.

I’m really terrible about getting my pictures off the computer (a horrible confession from a photographer I know!) but I really need to have some of these printed.

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Sorry for the picture overload but I couldn’t help myself! And truth be told there are a few more. Maybe I will share those another time.

Summer Time!

We’re wrapping up our first week of summer break, and between it and the final week of school, blogging has become somewhat sporadic. But I think things will settle down pretty quickly. You know, once I figure out schedules that include flute lessons, a photography class (for Em…not me), volleyball practice, moms group, etc, etc, ect. It sounds hectic and summer still comes with a flurry activity but it’s different, more laid back…less checking the clock to see how close to bedtime we are…more sleeping in and late night swims.

Last night we went to Music in the Park. This week’s band, The Not So Fab Four, was a Beatle’s cover group. They had a good sound, the weather was perfect with a wonderful breeze, and the company of lots of good friends.
My girls…growing up so fast.

 Best buds…

Goodness but this little fella will just make your heart melt!

Some tasty watermelon…

Squishy hugs…Mr. T wins!

Photo Story Friday

Twelve Things to Know About Sam

 1.)  He’s the only boy between two older and two younger sisters. This will either make him the greatest husband ever one day, or it has totally ruined him.

2.)  His favorite food is everything except what he doesn’t like. No kidding, if you ask, he’ll say something like, “All of it except for the stuff I don’t like.” Usually that means veggies and other things like rice, potatoes, or oatmeal and anything that he will have a sensory issue with.

3.)  Although he doesn’t play any sports he does enjoy watching them.

4.)  At one point in his young life he wanted to be a cartoonist that delivered babies. Since taking up art lessons he is more inclined toward the drawing vocation.

5.)  Still he loves babies. And is very excited whenever he finds out someone is pregnant. And then, he’ll consider all that he has read in Genesis, grab his stomach, begin muttering about the curse and the pain and pretend to faint. It’s quite entertaining.

6.)  He loves to tease his sisters, has a mischievous streak a mile wide, and likes to pull classic pranks like the shake hands with the buzzer and whoopie cushions.

7.)  He’s smart. But he’s also lazy. Which means school is something that he has to be greatly encouraged in. It helps that I found an online system to use. He loves anything electronic including the computer.

8.)  His greatest desire at the moment is to create a stop motion movie of some sort.

9.)  Legos are a big deal in his world. A big deal. His PawPaw and Nana got him a new set for his birthday with almost five hundred pieces. In less than two hours he had it all together.

10.) He loves word plays. He’s really sort of obsessed with them. Sometimes, they’re pretty funny. Other times not so much.

11.) If he’s asked if he misses someone who is out of town his response is always the same. With a pitying look he replies, “No, I’m not worried.” Not sure how he connects those two things but there you have it.

12.) Today is his birthday!

Happy 12th birthday, son! You’ve added much joy into our life and constantly show us a different way to view this world. We are much the richer for it.

April is Autism Awareness Month so next month I will share a series of Sam’s World posts and tell about our journey. I hope you’ll come back to learn a little bit about this often times misunderstood condition and if you know of someone whose life is touched by autism that you’ll share the blog with them. I’d love to hear your autism related stories too!

The Field Trip

It wasn’t really that big of a deal. A quick trip to the local Publix store down the road to wrap up their study on nutrition. But the first words out of her mouth yesterday morning were, “Mommy, can you go with me?”

See, last year in K4 was the big field trip…her first one ever. It was to a strawberry picking farm and she could barely wait for us to go. She was buckled into a classmate’s car and we were about to pull into the caravan and leave when an entire cup of  French vanilla creamer mixed with a little bit of coffee sloshed down into my shoes and puddled on my lap. No way could I continue on with them right then; nor could I head home, shower, and change and meet up with them…our house lay in one direction and the strawberry farm lay in the other.

I missed my baby’s first field trip.

So when that sweet little face looked up at me yesterday morning and asked if I could please go with her class I mentally rearranged my plans and went with her. To a grocery store of all places. But it was fun to watch her class charm the workers, pet Larry the Lobster, and explore the behind the scenes nook and crannies that we normally never have access to.

I’m so happy I went with her!

Sharing with Photo Story Friday, 1440, and Paula’s No Rules Blog Party.

It’s Official

I didn’t think it would be this hard to write this post. It’s a birthday…a celebration of our second born…but I just can’t find the right words to express what it’s like having her leave girlhood behind as she becomes a teenager. By His design something magical is beginning to happen to Emily Grace. It hasn’t happened over night…it isn’t as if she went to bed a twelve year old and woke up suddenly as a thirteen year old who no longer wants to play  pretend with baby dolls. Thankfully, He has considered our hearts in this matter and it has been a gradual change…a gentle letting go of one thing while reaching forward to something else. How precious is this time in her life…I loved every moment of her childhood and I am filled with joyous expectation as she begins this new chapter of the story He has written for her.
She’s my farm girl. This child who has always loved sleeping, once spent a summer getting up at 5:30 in the morning so she could go work on a goat farm. She likes goats better than cows, since apparently cows stink. She loves horses too.

Our regular birthday shoot tradition kicks it up a notch when the girls turn thirteen. We want to mark the occasion in a special way so we do some sort of formal session. Emily’s day was helped by the generosity of friends, first in the loaning of the gown she wore and second, the sweet friends that let us include their beautiful horse in her pictures. It made her day and the images are extra special to her.

She loves to cook and is always flipping through cookbooks and recipe magazines. She’ll cook as often as we’ll let her and has already been put in charge of dinner on several occasions.

Of all the children she is the quietest and also the most like Rob in temperament. She even has his sense of humor. Which means she can be super funny at the most unexpected times. She’s also sneaky. Once, over the span of several weeks, she was hiding her sister’s underwear a pair at a time until finally Sarah was complaining because she could hardly find any. Emily thought this was uproariously funny.

A friend nicknamed her the baby whisperer. She has a knack for getting even the shyest little one off their mother’s hip and onto her own. She loves babies. Her mothering streak is strong and so is her cuddle gene.

She’s smart. And a wee bit lazy with a strong tendency toward messy. It adds to her charm.
She’s not a girly girl but she is feminine and good gracious does she enjoy playing with hair! She always wants to look on pinterest for different ways to braid or curl hair and even enjoys messing with her brother’s hair. And let’s just say that Sam is not a fan of spiking his hair but that doesn’t deter Em from trying to convince him he should.

She’s crafty too. She gets that from my mother in law…this ability to try new things and do them well . Sewing, knitting, cooking, etc. She’s willing to try it all.
This past year she played on the school volleyball team and really enjoyed it. She likes to ride her bike and wants to start running. She swims like a fish and during the summer we call her our brown girl because she tans so well.
Most importantly, she has a tender heart. She accepts correction and is quick to seek forgiveness. Family and friends are important to her. I am sure that as she continues to mature and grow up that she is going to be an amazing woman whose worth is far above rubies. She is certainly a treasure to us already. 
Happy 13th birthday, sweeter Weeters!

Simple Things, The Weekend Brew, and Scripture and a Snapshot.

Telling Our Story in Pictures

Yesterday I was reading about a photographer that doesn’t do normal portrait sessions. She offers instead a day in the life kind of thing. She gets to her clients house really early and photographs whatever they do throughout the day from breakfast and playtime to dinner and the kids evening baths.

Maybe because I love the way pictures tell a story but I loved this idea. I’d love to shoot a day like that…the bits and pieces of everyday beauty that make up our lives.

I think this is why we, everybody in general, love to look at pictures. It reminds us of chapters of our stories.
This is why we take the pictures in the first place, isn’t it? So that we can read the story over and over again? So we can relive our favorite parts over and over, pointing to a moment caught in time saying, “Remember when…”

So do it. Hire someone or just grab a camera. Take good pictures and some not so good pictures. But illustrate your story, your family’s story. Not just the special days like birthdays and weddings but the normal everyday it’s only special because it’s us days. You won’t regret it.

Strolling through some of my old pictures and they tell the story of a budding new photographer who just got a camera in her hands and has no real idea of what to do with it. Selective color ~ just say no.

Good gracious I love this man.

I see pictures of the two of us, of him, and I read a tale of love and redemption. 

Pictures of my kids speak of chapters on love, learning, hilarity and silliness, frustration, first times, success and failures, and the list goes on and on.

She wasn’t as thrilled as her brother to be feeding the birds.

Little I love you’s have always been part of our life. Claire is the first one to make it a game about the number of people in our family. Every time we leave or she goes to bed it’s the I love you sign followed by two fingers for me and Daddy, the I love you sign followed by all five fingers for all of them, the I love you sign again with the word seven to complete the circle. Every now and then Rob will try and throw her off by saying something like “I love you, eleventy billion!” which prompts a giggle.

They always manage to have fun together.
Part of her story will be how much she looks like her father.

I have probably taken hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of my kids. For some reason this one is my absolute favorite. One of these days I just might make a big ol’ canvas print.

She’s a runner. Actually she just enjoys  exercise in general. This was the day she ran her first 5k.
Sweet sixteen.

She’s the hardest on of them to photograph. I guess because I just want to capture the sweetness of her gentle heart and that seems nearly impossible.

But I can get her being goofy!

His story gets a little complicated sometimes mainly because it has the footnote of autism. But he adds a lot of happiness and laughter to our story with his quirkiness. He is quite the character.
And the charmer.

Looking through these, rereading parts of our story is bittersweet…they’ve all grown up so much! I can’t wait to see the story unfold in the years to come.

I think it might time to update our story book a little this weekend…wonder if I can talk them into a photo session?

Sharing with Photo Story Friday (if you only click through one link it should be her’s…the pictures are just fabulous!) 1440 and the No Rules Blog Party.

Party Favors

That’s a rather enigmatic title isn’t it? But I really wasn’t sure what to call this post. Photo-shaped-like-those-sour-cream-thingies-candy-holder?

Bit of a mouthful isn’t it?

Call them what you will but I think these little things are so cute and pretty unique. They are also rather versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. The first time I made them it was for an end of the year class party. I had taken photos of each of the children in the class already for another project so it was easy to personalize them so that each student got one.

This time my daughter used them as her Christmas gift/favor for her classmates and we used a picture my other daughter took of her. I added the message and had them locally printed in 4×6 size.

Choose one short side of the photograph and run a stripe of hot glue down the edge. (I’m not a huge fan of hot glue but I’ve tried every other permanent tape on the market and none of them hold together.) Next fold the picture into a tube shape over lapping the edges so they’re glued together.

Run another stripe of glue along one side of the bottom of the tube. Press it together without creasing the picture to seal.

Drop some candy inside. We used a mix of miniature candy bars and kisses. Be careful not to add too many because you still need to seal the open end. I added about 4 pieces in each.

Going in the opposite direction of the bottom edge, add another stripe of hot glue to one side and press to seal shut. It’s important that you not seal both ends the same way as this is what gives the holder it’s shape.

And voil`a you have a cute little thingamajig!

Things to know, really only one thing that you need to keep in mind, is that hot glue is called hot glue for a reason. If you’re a seasoned crafter you probably already have a system for how to press and close off what you’re gluing but I still ended up with a small blister that hurt like all get out. Hold each gluing step for 10 seconds or so to ensure your bond is set before moving to the next step.

So, how adorable would these be as a favor for a wedding shower using a picture of the couple? Or a tummy picture for a baby shower? They’d also make great valentines too.

What do you think? How else could you use them?

Sharing my craftiness with the No Rules Blog Party, Sparkle and Shine, Show and Tell Friday, and last but not least Rae Gun Ramblings.

A Boy and His Sisters

My son is the only boy out of five children. He is neatly sandwiched between two older sisters and two younger sisters. You would probably think the poor kid doesn’t stand a chance with that many little mamma’s trying to tend his business but I can tell you he handles himself just fine.

Last week I finally managed to get some time set aside to do some pictures of my own children to possibly use for Christmas cards. My youngest was quite proud of her little herp derp moment and made the face for me again asking if I had seen it the first time. Oh, yeah I saw girlie! And you will be a teenager one day and will so regret that you made that face 🙂

Then things started getting really interesting. It may seem as if my oldest child is clumsy and that her brother is trying to rescue her but the truth of the matter is that she’s not and he isn’t. As a matter of fact he was doing the exact opposite.

She is a good sport about it though.

And the youngest shows again how very big and expressive her personality is.

He doesn’t look apologetic at all does he?

His exact words, “Push Sarah off of a stone wall? Check!”

All is well that ends well.

Love my babies that are growing up way too fast! Sharing their silly story with Photo Story Friday, Best Shot Friday, and 1440.