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She’s The Sweetest

A couple of posts back I shared about having the amazing privilege of photographing the birth of my niece’s daughter. And while I haven’t been able to attend the arrival of my other niece’s two sons I have had the great joy of doing their newborn pictures. So I’m really happy that tradition is being carried on with Miss Kya’s sweet self.

She is absolutely adorable and we spent a lovely morning together last week taking pictures. Because her mama is who she is and my niece’s mama is who she is the child is not lacking in cute outfits and head bling to wear.

But her Daddy gets all the credit for picking out the most adorable coming home from the hospital outfit. He found it and ordered it online as a surprise for my niece.

See what I mean? Worth the wait all sparkly and then those leg warmers! But then we have this on so fancy head piece.

The sweet little baby was a trooper during her pictures. She was awake a little bit but when her mama got her to settle and go to sleep she was out and let us move her all around without a whimper.

And how perfect is this bridge? My mother-in-law just got it as a sweet birthday present for my daughter. It made the most phenomenal prop and I am already plotting and planning how to use it again.

Looking at these and I just can’t wait to love on her some more. She is so precious and we thank God for her life.

Welcome to the world little one! You are so loved.

Sisters

My niece had a baby last week and I had the great joy of being there to photograph it. She wasn’t the first of my nieces to give birth but she was the first that I was able to be present with for a long day of labor and delivery.

Birth photography is new to me but I am so loving it. There is something so amazing about witnessing a birth but it’s also about capturing those beautiful moments between family and friends as they wait together and then celebrate the little one’s arrival. It takes on a whole new meaning when it’s my family though.

When I saw this interaction between my sister and niece I was quick to focus in and catch it with my camera. But it wasn’t until I got home and uploaded the images that I really saw what I had. It literally took my breath away. Because I saw my sister.

The sister who locked me and our little sister out of the house so she and the other older sister could do chores and make peanut butter balls.

It was the face of the sister who played school with us and taught me how to make these little Valentine people from paper hearts with accordion arms and legs.

The one who burnt the pork chops because she liked them crispy.

I saw the same love in that photograph that I remembered from the day she came to check me out of school when my grandfather passed away. She had my future brother-in-law pull the car over and then let me sit in her lap all the way home.

Most of those memories, and thousands like them tucked into my heart and mind, are of my sisters. Rarely are they of just one of them…they’re of all three of them.  Even now they play such a role in my life and the lives of my children. Being at volleyball games, texting conversations during America’s Got Talent with their nephew, texts and messages of sweet encouragement and funny stuff. Phone calls and prayers. No matter what they are right there whenever I need them.

I don’t have any brothers so I don’t know what that’s like. Maybe it’s the same. But what I do know is that my sisters, having sisters…being a sister, makes me the mom I am in way that I can’t really explain but just is.

I can’t imagine doing life without them.

Photo Credit Cindy Kay Photography

 Because of you, 
I laugh a little harder, 
cry a little less, 
and smile a lot more.

When Did We Get Here

The other day I had the most surreal experience or rather moment of realization. The stage had already been set I guess by the fact that Rob and I had recently gone away for the weekend and the kids stayed home. Alone. Without even a grandmother to oversee things. We didn’t actually do the same happy dance that we did say, when the last diaper was used or when we told everybody to go get in the van and no one needed help, but there was a quiet celebration when we got back home and everyone had survived without us for a few days. (Apparently we do need to establish some contact protocol in case we do it again though. The kids wrote up a rather hilarious desperately-seeking-parents facebook post when we didn’t communicate with them as much as they felt we needed too.)

Anyway, last week I was doing a quick mini session for a friend and Emily was sending me text of things she was designing on the computer. She is seriously considering a graphic design college path and it was fun to see her creating and working on something. When I got home Abby wanted to talk pictures with me and we went through some of her recent photographs and talked shop so to speak. She is showing a lot of interest in photography and some talent and skill. Sarah is happy and content with her life and working so hard towards her nursing degree. Sam is working hard as the church janitor and learning to be responsible for a job and tithing and other grown up stuff not centered around LEGOS or the latest episode of America’s Got Talent (although both things are still very important to him.) Claire is busy and active and into everything…playing with friends, volleyball camp, reading and puzzles, and painting sun catchers.

We’ve spent summer so far in and out of the kitchen baking and cooking and trying new things. We’re doing new things like leaving them alone and nobody is dying and they are all growing and thriving and suddenly it came to me that we are so much further down the road than I realized. So much closer to where we wanted to go when they were all tiny and we were really hoping and wondering if any of us would survive.

If you had asked us way back then where we were headed and what we wanted for our kids and our family I don’t think we could have told you. I’m not sure I can articulate even now but I know they are growing up and maturing in a way that pleases me because I think it pleases Him and it’s in part because of the hard work we put into them and all because of the work He has done and is doing in spite of us.

Not that we have arrived or anything. There is the occasional dust up over whose turn it is to clean out the litter box and there may or may not have been a smallish kerfuffle over a chair the other night. But we’re seeing landmarks that show we’ve been going in the right direction. They’re living and creating and loving and being and it’s wonderful.

As for where we’re headed? No idea. But I know it’s in front of us and we keep pressing forward trusting that He is making the path straight and leading us right where He wants us.

DPP ~ Day 5

It has been a very soggy day. It’s as if all of the rain we’ve been missing lately all came at once. With gusto. And lightening. Boy, has the light show been impressive.

My mother has come down with some sort of bug and needed to be resting today so I got to take my dad to a doctor’s appointment. The days can get so busy tending my kids and all the stuff that comes with life in general that time to visit with my parents apart from the daily phone call doesn’t come easily. While I am not happy my mother is sick it was nice to have to put everything else aside and go spend time with my dad.

I was left alone in the examination room for a few minutes while they took him back for an x-ray. While I was holding his things I breathed in the familiar scent that is my father. I can’t describe it really. It’s a mix of him, his aftershave, the laundry detergent my mother uses, and just their house, their smell. It’s the smell of comfort.

My parents are getting older. They’re having to adjust to a new season of life and it’s one that I imagine is kind of uncomfortable. Limitations and the reality of not being able to keep doing all the things they’ve always done they way they’ve done them is not a whole lot of fun. Not wanting to be a burden on me and my sisters also weighs on them.

But as I buried my nose in my Dad’s vest and smelled deeply the smell that is him, I realized what a privilege it is to care for our parents as they grow older. And, more importantly, I wish for them to see it as an honor. My Dad has earned every ache and pain he feels now because for years his body has faithfully done what he asked of it whether it was jumping 255 times out of an airplane with the 82nd airborne division during his time in Vietnam, or slinging a hammer or any of the other physical labor he did most of our lives to provide for our family. My Mother is moving slower but all of my life I have seen her go from one act of service to another, always helping wherever there was a need.

My parents are still pretty young. There is still much that God has for them to do. But they also will be learning the art of receiving gracefully that which they have always been the ones to do. And while there are some small things that are changing it’s not like it’s anything too drastic. But there is change happening and probably more in the years ahead.

So to my precious parents I say, you may not like this new season of life…you may find the limitations a great big pain in your backside…you may be frustrated by needing help when before you didn’t. But trust me when I tell you that we, and I know I speak for all of us girls, are beyond thankful that God has given you to us and it is our great joy to love you and do things for you.

It’s how you raised us. So, please don’t begrudge our obedience to what you taught us as we seek to show you the honor due you as our parents. Honestly, we don’t mind.