Month: June, 2009
When I was little – maybe 4 or 5 years old – my dad decided it was time for me to learn to swim. So, at a party he set me in the pool and told me to swim. After much crying and screaming, guess what I did? I learned to swim. I have a great love of water and everything you can do in and around it. And I think it all began that day my dad made me learn to swim. Onlookers at the party poo-pooed my dad for making his young daughter scream and cry while seeming to become engulfed by water. But my dad knew something about parenting. He knew that sometimes you have to make children do things they are afraid of for their own good.
I’m certain that many people don’t agree with that approach to parenting. I suppose I understand that but I happen to parent just like my dad. I push my children to try new things – even when they don’t want to.
Our healthclub has a big swirly slide that drops into the pool. For years, Mak refused to even entertain the idea of trying it out. She was afraid. As her mama, I knew that she had no reason to be afraid of that slide. So one day when we went to the pool as a family, I shocked her.
“Mak, when you walk into the pool area I want you to walk over to the purple slide, walk up the stairs and go down the slide. Please don’t cry or the lifeguards will ask us to leave. You can choose not to but then you and I will need to leave and Liv and Papa will stay and play.”
She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “ok.”
She proceeded to walk over to the slide, walk up the stairs and slide triumphantly down that purple slide. And we couldn’t get her off of the slide that day. If we hadn’t insisted, she’d still be avoiding that slide.
The rule when we go boating is this: you must at least try to get up on water skiis before you climb into the tube. If we didn’t enforce this rule, the children would never learn how to water ski. Water skiing is hard. Water skiing is a bit scary for little ones. But water skiing is also fun after you get past the hard stuff. And it’s good exercise – unlike being pulled by a boat in a tube.
When Mak was 5, we were out in the middle of Lake Delevan and she was screaming and crying because she didn’t want to ski. Some of my family (and some friends) scolded us when we got back to shore because they could hear the screaming and crying. My brother was out there with us and he insisted on the skiing, too – he agrees with dad’s parenting philosophy. Although I must say that I doubt my dad would categorize his thought process as some type of parenting philosophy. He’s not like that – no philosophy for him. He’s just a common sense type of guy. Philosophy, common sense or whatever – I just call it brilliant.
This weekend, we went out on the water for the first time this summer. A few days before we left to go camping and boating, Livy announced “I am not going to ski. I’m just not.”
“Ok”, I said, “but you know that means there will be no tubing.”
That was all that was said that day. My heart is softening, I must tell you. Because I had half a mind to allow her not to ski. I’m losing it. Really. I was afraid of myself. And then I devised a plan. A plan involving Nerd Ropes. Have you ever seen a Nerd Rope? It’s a long piece of sticky, sugary type material that acts as a delivery device for Nerds. My children adore Nerd Ropes.
As we were pulling out of the dock, I told Livy that if she tried to get up on skiis she could have a Nerd Rope. Much to my surprise she agreed. The first try was a valiant effort. She went about 50 yards without falling. The next two were disasterous and included face plants right into the water. And then the crying ensued. It was ok, though, because she tried and that’s all I ask. See, I’ve just proven my theory that Nerd Ropes are some kind of magic. She tried. For a Nerd Rope. Whatever it takes. Right?
The magic Nerd Rope.
After all of that screaming and crying years ago, Mak has grown to love and look forward to skiing:
The fruits of their labor:
One last thing about Livy’s skiing this weekend. I would be remiss if I left this part out.
After she fell skiing the last time, she came over to the back of the boat where I was sitting. Her sister was getting her skis on in the water. She said, “can I cuddle up with you while Mak is out there?”
Did she even need to ask? Would I ever give up an opportunity to smell her hair as she works her little body into a comfy position?
After a moment or two, out of the blue she said, “Mama, I really do want to be more like Jesus. But I’m not sure about the walking on water part.”
That’s what I have to say about her today. She’s all bright, shiny & fabulous. She loves to put on a show and she loves to make people smile. She told me so herself. She cuddled up with me last night in bed while Mak had some girlfriends spend the night. Her feet were all in my back and at one point she put her head in the crook of my neck. I woke up with a very stiff back. Wanna know something? I would have it no other way. I praise God for the stiff back I had this morning. Thank you, Lord. I loved my stiff back because it means I have this bright, shiny, fabulous little one in my life.
For a few months I’ve been dreaming of beginning a new project but each time I set my mind to begin, I did nothing. I’ve been dreaming of a photography project relating to God’s Word. I’d like to contemplate a portion of Scripture and somehow try to capture it in photographs.
There are so many ways to go about a project like this. I could go around taking pretty photographs and search a Scripture to fit that particular photograph. That approach does not appeal to me in the least.
I’ve decided to approach this project differently. I’m going to photograph the things that I’m studying, when I’m studying them. I’m working on a study based primarily in Hebrews right now so that’s where I’m going to start. Wish me luck. Why? Because I’m studying Hebrews, chapter 11 & I’m fairly certain I’m not going to get shots of Moses, Enoch and Noah! I’m not sure where my brain is going to take me….but it should be interesting.
I’ll be sure to share some of the photographs with you, mr. internet but I don’t know when.
Today, I thought I’d just share one on thankfulness. ”It is good to give thanks to the Lord” Psalm 92:1a
I want to give thanks for all of it. Not just for the big things. These are the things that struck me today:
- For the lovely craft Livy and I embarked upon this evening. We raided my scrapbook supplies and made those pretty little globes. She made a pretty pastel-y colorful globe & I made one in anticipation of the fourth of July.
- For the beaut-eee-ful dogs in our lives. My heart broke in two after Gracie died; and these two sweeties helped to mend it. Ella (the German babe) and Roxy (our Black Lab, gracie honoring pooch). Not only do I love them; I love that they love eachother. Man, do they love eachother!
- In the upper right you can see the nummy cookies I made while the girls were at GrandMary and Beepa’s this past weekend. I’m grateful that I get to bake sometimes and I’m even more grateful when the little hands eating my baked goods actually enjoy the sweet treats from my oven.
- The center photograph is my favorite summertime centerpiece. The sand is from a trip from Florida a few years back, along with the shells.
- And then there’s a photograph of the girls while boating last summer. Our first excursion on the boat this summer will be this weekend and I can barely stand to wait four more days!
and my family is blessed by each of them.
This guy here – he’s my dad. The man. The tough on the exterior; soft like a big cotton ball on the inside, grandfather to my children. The guy that I can’t write much about when I don’t want to cry. The guy that gives everything he has to his family. The guy that has faced his mistakes with courage and has learned from them. The guy that is grateful. I suppose that’s what he’d say if you asked him about his life. He’d tell you he’s grateful…..and that he’s been blessed. I’ve learned an awful lot about gratefulness and what it means to be a family from this dude. He’s the bright shining star in our family, who often sits off quietly watching us and loving us. I don’t need to tell you how handsome he is; just take a look:
This guy, well, he’s my baby brother. Again, I can’t write much about this guy either because he’s really something else, this guy. Really. He’s cool but doesn’t think he is. He’s mischevious but would never admit it. He’s usually got six children hanging off of him because they all love him so darn much. He’s tender but would die if you actually told him that to his face. His love for children really is incomparable. He’s the uncle that every kid in the world would jump up and down to have – and our kiddos get him. They know now how blessed they are by him but when they grow up I’m certain they’ll see it even more clearly. He’s a better father than 99% of the fathers out there. No matter what your definition of a father is. Not to mention a pretty awesome brother.
This guy here: he’s my brother in law. My sister’s husband. This guy is easy to talk to. He’s the kind of guy you’d be relieved to be sitting next to at a wedding you dreaded attending. He listens like not many people do. Most people like to talk lots but it seems he likes to listen, mostly. He’s another gentle soul. He’s a great father to my niece and nephews. And he loves my sister very much. In my book, he’s top notch. Can you see how much the children adore him by the look on Lulu’s face? He’s comforting to be around.
And this last guy. He’s a hot, hot hottie. He’s an a*m*a*z*i*n*g father. He gives and gives and gives. Sometimes I’m not sure where he gets all of the energy and desire he has to give so darn much. Not only to the children, but to me and to my family and to our friends. If I could just be a little more like him in the area of giving I’d be a better person for it. He’s the cowboy I met at the rodeo in 1995 and the man I’ve come to adore more than I ever thought possible. When I dreamed of settling down and having a family, I never dreamed it could be so sweet. I don’t think I had the courage to dream as big as I would have needed to in order to dream about this man. And that’s all God, I tell you. Why in the world has God been so good to me? I can’t even imagine how much He must love me.
“The righteous who walks in his integrity- blessed are his children after him!” Proverbs 20:7
These men are full of integrity………oh how our children have been blessed.
Happy Father’s day to each of you. I love you so very much.
Not much more I can say about her. She’s stolen my heart and her father’s heart. She’s a gem. And we really, really like her. Lots.
She began telling me that she loved my photographs. And that she really wanted nice photographs of her children. So last year, I met Christine and her children at a great location and took some photographs for her. My favorite part of that session last year was meeting her children because Christine and I are both moms and we talk to one another about our children – a lot. Christine is a good mom and her children are just lovely to be around.
Later last year, Christine and I began talking about politics. We began talking more about our views and even began talking about how great our husbands are. Really – we talk about how blessed we are by the guys we are married to – a lot.
Christine has been one of the most encouraging people in my life about my photography. I am so thankful for her encouragement. Thank you, Christine. Your encouragement and kind words about my work has meant the world to me.
A few months ago, Christine asked me to take photographs of her family before her daughter goes off to college. I was looking forward to this session – because her kids are so easy going and I couldn’t wait to meet Jeff, Christine’s husband.
When I was contemplating our shoot…….I had lots and lots of ideas, all of which were scrubbed the morning of the shoot because of the doggone rain. That’s normally a pretty stressful situation for a photographer but I wasn’t stressed for this one. I wasn’t stressed because I knew Christine’s family would just roll with it…..and it would be all good.
The session we ended up having is my absolute favorite kind of session. Just being together. Walking around. Having coffee. The things that families do. It’s about capturing life and relationships. I *adore* sessions when those being photographed are doing the things that they like- with a few, “hey look over here at the camera” in order to get some informal formal shots!
I’m at the point in my life that I’m beginning to treasure just hanging out with Dave – just us. Of course that doesn’t happen too much with little girls around but I do envision a day when we can just be together. I’m certainly not rushing my girls to grow up – in fact I keep telling them that from now on birthdays will be going backward. Instead of Liv moving on to 7 years, we’ll just be going from 6 to 5. On the other hand, it is lovely to think about sitting on the porch swing with Dave every night.
I think that is why I was transfixed by the photographs of Christine and her husband when I was proofing them. Their children are a bit older than mine and it was a blessing to watch Christine and Jeff together. It made me happy.
A few of the entire family:
I think this is my favorite one of the entire family. Why? ’cause it’s real. Look at Christine and Jeff in the right corner. Ahh, I love, love, love it.
And some of my favorites of Christine and Jeff together:
I had the pleasure of meeting “H” at the farm she rides at tonight. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect because I’d never been to this farm before. It was really pleasurable.
Miss “H” groomed her horse and walked him out to the paddock for some photographs before she rode him. His name is Duke and he was certainly gentle.
I was extremely impressed by “H’. She rode Duke with confidence. One slip up, however, and Duke made a sudden stop which caused “H” to flip over and land on the ground on her back. I stood there frozen as “H” lay on the ground for a moment or two. Although she banged her back up landing smack dab on it, she climbed right back up and continued. Great job! I thought I got a photograph of “H” upside down during the fall, but now that I’ve downloaded the photographs I notice that I didn’t. I must have been frozen with fear or something – sorry Cheryl, I thought for certain I got one!
I won’t be able to get the gallery up for a few days, so I thought I’d post just a few from tonight.
We love baseball. When spring training comes around each year, it makes me very happy.
Last summer I distinctly remember one particular day as one of the best. It may have been my favorite day in 2008. Is it strange to remember your favorite day from an entire year?
Dave, me and both children went out to a lake near our house. It was the middle of summer so it was a lazy kind of day. Plus it was a Sunday. After church, we drove out to the lake and launched our little boat. We pulled out the cooler, lifted the table on the boat and had lunch. The children tubed and skied a bit and then we anchored the boat in the middle of the lake. Next, we flipped on the radio to listen to the Cubs game. Dave and I sat there in the summer sun, listening to the Cubs game, drinking a cold one and watching the girls jump into the lake from the back of the boat.
Happy washes over my entire being remembering how perfect that day was. Really. Worshipping God, boating, Cubs, a cold one, happy children, being with my hot, hot, hottie husband – come on, really, does it get better?
Thankfully both of our girls like baseball as much as we do. I snagged some of Livy the other night at her game.
This first set it lovely to me……mostly because it makes me giggle to see her eyes closed as the ball meets the bat. ”Keep your eyes on the bat” is something we yell over and over and still this happens. How cute is that? The photograph to the right is so sweet, although not technically great. I just love it because my hot, hot hottie husband is asking my little girl to give him five for that wonderful hit. A hot, hot hottie husband, a little lovely girl and baseball – Joy, I tell you. Pure Joy.
And this set reminds me that even though she’s playing softball…..she’s a girly girl through and through. Look at the pose. That’s my sweet thing for sure!
Aren’t I the luckiest lady in the world? I have so many little girls to love and hug and smooch. N & R have so much energy, which completely matches the energy of my little Lulu so it works out perfectly when we get together. I’ll bet little M will grow to fit right in with the three crazy little girls that Kim and I love!
I love you all…and I love just being with you.
Could mama be any more beautiful?
…..the Cubs are gonna win today! We love singing that around our house. We weren’t singing on Sunday night, though. It was a disaster from the get go. Miss Mak is always interested in the game; Liv is still only interested in the cotton candy. It was fun watching her stalk the poor guy. After they were finished with the cotton candy – in the 5th inning – we took off. I just couldn’t take the losing any longer. It was painful.
As with any Cub fan, however, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game. Always another day, right?