Sunday, April 06, 2014

How Country Feels - Willow Lake Prom 2014

I'm always so honored to be able to go to Willow Lake to take prom pictures. The small town feel is always present when I walk in those gym doors and see the decorations and this time, smelled the "country!" They had the gym decorated so elegantly. I was impressed. 

This one was just a fun one - had to share because it's so great! 

I just picked out a few couples pictures to share. 

They wanted to do one sibling picture and this one topped the cake! I told them my idea and I think they both gave me the look like, "WHAT?" They played right along though and it's so fun. 

Thanks again for letting me come over to do the prom pictures this year. Pictures should be to your school in about a week and a half. 

A Night at Gatsby's - Hamlin Prom 2014

After a full evening of prom photography I have a few from Hamlin's 2014 prom to share. I just picked out a few of my favorites and some were fun ones.

I just happened to stumble upon the junior girls doing a group photo while I was trying to get set up for the entire junior group and snapped a few quick ones. It turned out quite well for impromptu! If any girls want to order this one, you can. Just let me know as soon as possible. Order is going in tomorrow, Monday!

This one is my favorite! The red shoe and great expressions make it my pick for the night. FUN! 

This one - just fun. Don't worry, we did take a "normal" pose as well. 

The pictures you ordered should be to you in about a week and a half. Thanks for choosing me to be your photographer for this year. 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Basketball Wrap Up

 We wrapped up the 7th Grade Hamlin Basketball Year with the Y Tournaments in Sioux Falls this past weekend. I didn't take too many pictures, but these two of Devan may be favorites. I love the jumping lay up and am amazed at how high this boy can jump. He's now the same height as me or maybe a tiny bit taller.
And the box out picture is pretty cool too. They sure do have to be strong under that hoop. I don't think it is quite the same as when I was playing at that age. Things have certainly gotten a LOT rougher. One of our players even suffered a broken nose in this game. 

The huddle. Shaine got in on a tiny bit of the coaching action. 

The team muscle shot. A few of them refused to show some muscle. 

Devan and Connor - this must be the "I'm too cool to smile pose."

And two very proud sisters who love their brother. I don't know how many games these girls have been drug to and sat through already in their lifetimes. I guess it's building character!

It was a fun season and so fun to watch these boys play together this year. For certain, this tournament showed some great work ethic and team togetherness. Love that! 

And this may be the moment of tears… Devan insisted he needed purple shoelaces for these tournament games. I was thinking, really? Purple? Why are you doing that? Whatever - 7th grade boys - sort of odd. Then, I get to the first game and boys are frantically putting in laces and wearing purple and I find out they are doing it to support Cystic Fibrosis. Almost every kid had purple laces or purple socks. Awww - make my heart pound. Love these kids and how they can come together to try to support something even bigger than themselves. They wanted to wear Dannika's Dream Team T-Shirts as their warm up shirts, but I guess not everyone had one. Wish I would have known that before as I'm sure I could have rounded a few up for that cause! And, they wanted to be the "Dream Team" for the tournament, but the registration was sent in already with Hamlin Chargers. What big hearts these kids have. Makes me proud to be a small part of it! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Awe Inspiring Sunset

This picture needs NO words - simply beautiful and sure makes me long for sunshine and warm weather here in the frozen tundra of South Dakota where we got another layer of ice and snow yesterday. I am ready for summer. Spring would even be good, or I should probably say spring-like weather because Spring is here, it just does NOT look like it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Origami Owl Party for Cystic Fibrosis

Time for a little PARTY - an Origami Owl Party that is! We are trying to do another fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Dannika's Dream Team. We are preparing for the June 21st Walk in Brookings, SD and I really LOVE this jewelry and thought maybe I could have a party AND raise money for CF at the same time.

Please follow the link to order and the party will run through April 6th at 8:00 pm. I'm going to go shopping too!

Love this plate in this locket. 

And Charms??? Let me see… 

I can't decide which theme I should go for - 
Faith ---

CF Awareness --- they have every color ribbon you want to be "aware" of or for.

Children's Birthstones??? 

Or my hobbies??? 

I guess I need to think some more, but please go check out the website and see if there is anything you would like. Cute earrings as well that I must get for my girls. They are always in need of good earrings that are age appropriate! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

I'd Like to Cry Now...

Today was a beautiful day off of school. So excited to have a free day. We did have to go to Watertown to pick up Destiny's Birthday Cake.
Just a phone picture as of now, so I apologize already for the graininess, but you get the idea. 

The "I'd like to cry now" came in as we walked into the Cake Crazy story. PINK overload. Mind you, Destiny's favorite color is PINK. She was loving it. The lady was on the phone, but Destiny was definitely excited to see her cake, yes, but more so all the cupcakes, cake pops, a balloon, an iPad to look through cake pictures, and new stuff to explore. 

Up to this point our morning had really been quite fabulous. I let the girls sleep until they woke up on their own. Destiny took a bath, watched some TV, ate breakfast, helped me put away the dishes from the dishwasher and glowed as I read her my Valentine's gift. 10 Things I Love About You. It was simply precious. Her face lit up at each thing. That was all I got the children. Something from the heart and hopefully it means more than candy, which I don't think they need, a stuffed animal I will want to toss in a few weeks, you get the idea. 

We drove to Watertown in total calm - and when we walked into that Cake store I had to pull in the reigns. Too much stimulation for my girl I guess. We held hands and then the lady pulled out her cake. She loved it. It was so beautiful. You can't really see all the sparkles on the cake, but it is sparkly and has pink and purple. (Secretly, I wanted all pink - but I guess I wasn't clear enough in that area.) Destiny says it is just fine - Thank goodness for the crown and wand - redeemed the white frosting I think. We made it to the car with the cake, which was in a box, but the lid did not close all the way due to the crown. I put it safely in the way back and we had a little/big temper tantrum over THAT! Yes, that. I know, I don't get it either. She wanted to hold the cake. We were on the way to the dentist and had in her mind she had to hold the cake or I would drive too fast or go over a bump and it would ruin the whole thing. We sat…. and sat… and I watched huge crocodile tears and heard scream… and we sat. If someone had been watching us here is what they would have though: 1. Spank that child. 2. Get over it little girl. 3. She is a spoiled little brat. 4. She has no discipline in that house. 5. Final conclusion: What an awful parent. 
Believe me, I've been there. I think those same thoughts. The enemy is right there ready to convict me of things that are so not true. The truth is: I prayed right there as we sat… and waited. I know those "over stimulated" situations are hard. I know she can't help it. I know she is not trying to be naughty. I know she is not even really being naughty. I know… we still have work to do. So, the work begins. We made a compromise. I crawled through the vehicle and got the cake and let it sit on the floor right beside her. She could watch it to be sure it was safe. Awesome. Problem solved. Now, on to the dentist where we start all over again…

Really, how bad can it be in the waiting room for 30 minutes? They have a TV, the walls are newly painted with awesome super heroes brushing their teeth. The colors are vibrant. There are chairs that look like sports balls and they spin and there are little foot stools and they have colors and books and the little pads to draw on and erase. AND - even better they have a Keurig machine and water in the tiny refrigerator and sometimes great snacks, and a bathroom we had to visit regardless of if we really had to go or not. There were cake pops behind the desk for Valentines Day and flowers and more being delivered. They had some lucky workers in that dental office! Fun stuff…. Now, are you sick of reading about all they had? Yeah, I think all that seems somewhat "normal." I'm thinking for us, a sterile white room with one color book and colors may have been a better option. What to do? 

This is the point where I take even deeper breaths and grab my little girl bouncing off the walls and squeeze tight. We talk about what it feels like to be all "crazy" inside and how we can calm it down. I don't now if we made any progress. I understand what's happening. We are working on the "fixing" it part - and maybe fixing is not the right word. We need to know how to deal with it. I need to keep praying for patience. I need to have a good cry some days. 

I would have liked to go to Wal-Mart to grab a few things, but thankfully a friend had gotten the few "must have" groceries off of my list for me the day before. I knew a store would be a nightmare for me and her. I know I really never want to take her shopping at this point in my life. (Sarcasm there - but if you recall the Mall of America - you would totally understand.) 

If any of you other mama's are there I would love an encouraging word. I would love your prayers and IF you have any insight. I try to stay calm, cool and collected and really on the outside I am. It's the inside that is a freakin' mad house! I smile and laugh and I'd like to cry...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pressure - - -

Play this song - listen to these words. 
Feel the pressures of your day release and vanish. 

We all have pressures as moms, the dishes, the 12 loads of laundry, the child crying and demanding your attention, the floors, the beds that "could" be made, the meals to make, the kids to pick up from school, the errands and grocery shopping, and the numerous demands that seem to make me go a tiny bit CRAZY!  

This morning however, I sang this song, and I'm still singing it this afternoon. It has not been the best day. Things happen, stress levels rise, but I'm feeling content that my God has got this. I just need to hand over those problems and go forth - Even the problems are part of the plan, the big picture. No, He does not cause these bad things to happen, but He can turn all things to the good of those who LOVE Him. I started to focus on that last part today. "of those who love him." I best be loving because I've got  lots to turn to good. 

Romans 8:28

New International Version (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

I am also reminded that these pressures I feel are also felt by my kids. Of course, not the same pressures. I don't think they care much about laundry and cleaning and making meals. As long as the meal appears, they are good. I just informed my boys that they will be doing their own laundry though. I just feel the need to tell all you parents to reach out to your children and try to listen. Try to talk to them about all those pressures and to teach them how to let those go. Give them over to God. Those pressures are nothing more than what we do to ourselves. Or they are the result of what we as parents give over to our chidden. Straight A's or so many points on the basketball court or picking up after yourself or… the list goes on and on. We don't intentionally give them these pressures, but I think we do, sometimes without even knowing it. I want to tell my kids that grades don't matter, as long as you do your best. That is what I do "say" but my face reads a different story and I wonder why they have gotten a B instead of an A. What did you not understand? Instead of just accepting the B as the best they could do, I want more. I'm a perfectionist in some areas and grades were a biggie for me. So, I'm still trying to give them the sole responsibility and let them take the action. It's still hard though. I don't mean to put those pressure upon them and I'm so sorry if I did. 

I have to add one fun picture and share this story. We have reached the age where there is a girlfriend. I wanted to give them something to do at our house and thought baking cookies with the girls would be a great idea. My vision of kids baking cookies is not always what the reality is. The girls had fun, and I tried hard to let them make a mess and just do it. I also realized how much work we may need to do in the baking and cooking department. Pretty funny. The cookies tasted great though and in the end, messes can be cleaned and who cares? I'm so glad I took this crazy picture. It sure does make me smile! 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Be Still … And know that we are coming.

Isaiah 40:31
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
LOVE  this verse!!! I am sure I have written it here before but the other morning I had a real message from God. I can honestly tell you I don't know if that happens to me much. I don't think I take time to really listen. You know this verse:   He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”    -Psalm 46:10

Yes, that one! The one I have read a thousand times, honestly, not that many… but I keep repeating it in my head and think I have decided I don't really know what it means to "be still." I'm a mover and a shaker. I don't want to be, I guess it is just the way I'm wired. I'm trying to slow down and be still…. it's hard. 
And --- for my wisdom filled message --- I was fretting about our adoption a bit. Asking why it has to take so long. I feel like we are missing out on precious time and we've missed so much already. This adoption of an older child is different. I already feel so "behind" so to say. I have missed all those precious "firsts" that a mom wants to see. There is a birth mom who was there, and for that I'm thankful. My heart breaks for her and her situation, what little I know of it, but my heart breaks for me, too. My prayers are always the same. Keep him safe and healthy and let him know that YOU are with him. Let our file and his be looked upon with favor and may things move quickly, and may he come HOME soon. I was thinking all those same thoughts the other morning and it hit me just like this: 

My child, I am teaching this boy things he won't be able to learn in your family.

Simple and to the point and probably VERY TRUE! After being there and seeing first-hand where the orphanage is and what they live like, yes, I want him HOME, but… there are valuable lessons to be learned there that are so foreign to us as Americans. So, I pray he learns those lessons fast and still comes home quickly. I know that my God has got this! As I sat sweating in the Haiti darkness with a little brown hand in mine and prayed with him and over him, my heart was already hurting for the long wait ahead of us. As I gave him hugs and kisses before retiring for the evening, I can't even imagine what was going through that little mind. I know, I can't wait to smother him with love every single day, but I do know that the Father has so much more love than I can even fathom. That to me is simply amazing. 

I also know the reality of it - our love is sometimes quite simply - not enough, but we pray that with the Lord's help the transition can be as smooth as possible, especially for a young heart, with so much to try to understand in this great big world that sometimes seems so unfair. Learn fast my child, for this mommy heart is missing you.