Friday, January 28, 2011

A momma without her cub

So, y'all are probably aware (or not)  that my oldest son, Austin stayed in Wisconsin to live with his grandmother and finish school.  

Last night I got a phone call from my mother informing me that he was in severe pain and she was taking him to the ER.  Now this kid has the highest pain tolerance of anyone I've ever met.   Take for instance the time he broke his thumb and came into the house laughing, showing me how deformed it was.  Yeah, he's not a wimp people.  So for him to be in so much pain that he was writhing was freakin me out.  Combine that with the fact that I couldn't properly assess him over the phone (hey, got my PHD from mom University, don't judge) I was a worried momma bear.

Then it went from bad to worse.  They saw something on xray that looked like intussusseption (bowel telescoping in on itself) and were suspecting a perforated bowel with infection spilling all over his gut.  OMG.  So I'm trying to arrange the next flight out to Cheeseville, right?

Then my 8 year old decides to projectile vomit all over the bathroom.  Are you kidding me with this?  REALLY?

Thankfully CT revealed a kidney stone and nothing in the bowel.  WHEW!  As of today it still hasn't passed, he's still in agony on pain meds and he's going back this afternoon to see if they will stent it.

I hate not being able to make my "baby" feel better.  In the meantime Jack, Shay, and Chris have all been battling the tummy bug.  So I didnt' have to go to the land of snow and cold, but I get to spend this beautiful 70 degree day cleaning up copious amounts of vomit.  

Stay tuned for some HUGORMOUS NEWS later today.  BIG people, BIG.  (Well little actually, no bigger than a bread box.....)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Maternity portraits

So one of my photographers in Hawaii has been working her lil hiney off.  Hawaii is such a beautiful state and I'm so excited to have the honor of editing her photos.  This photo shoot is of an expectant mother and father and turned out beautifully!

Absolutely stunning and I love the special touch of the flower on her belly.  I wonder how many times baby kicked that flower off!

Again, the flower.  Adding something simple like this and playing with the color and focal point is a great way to enhance a picture.

Some call the heart on the belly thing dated, but I think it's a beautiful sentiment.

Maternity portraiture takes a creative eye and and the ability to make your subject feel comfortable.  Many women are self conscious about their changing bodies but I find them beautiful!

Do you have any great maternity shots?  I'd love to see them and share them with my readers (with credit where it's due of course!) Email to

Monday, January 17, 2011

A baby in da house.

Nope, not mine.

Here in Texas I've changed things up a bit, I'm doing home daycare as well as photography.  Today a sweet little newborn began spending his days with me. He's absolutely wonderful and it is so nice to have a wee one to cuddle again.  Nate's still cuddly, but you know how 3 year olds are..... their terms.  I could stay in bed with him all day snuggling but unfortunately he wants to do things like eat, play, and watch Yo Gabba Gabba.  Silly boy!

Anyway,  There is lots of newness going on in my life.  I always knew there was a divine purpose for us moving to Austin, Texas.  I knew it would present itself if I just listened.  Well, I still don't know what it is but I was shocked when I was informed of my next step in the journey.

SHOCKED y'all.

We were led to church.  CHURCH.  CHURCH.  

Ya know, God's house and all that jazz?  Yeah.  A Pagan being led to church.  My first thought obviously was what the.........  I mean I kind of saw it coming.  A dear friend informed me last week that she and her precious family are thinking about moving to the Austin area.  The kicker?  She's a pastor's wife.  Yeah.

So since I have been determined to follow my gut and my heart.  When we were directed to pick up our lives and move 1300 miles in just two weeks without secure jobs... we listened.  So what would it hurt to just keep listenin.

A little quick background.  Craig grew up in a lutheran church, his mother has always been very active in the church and to this day works in the church office.  I started out Catholic but grew up in a Pentacostal church and was very active until adulthood.  And you all know that since Alex died I have basically told God to take a flying leap and I just wasn't doing that anymore.

So here I was feeling strongly called to church and struggling to let go of my defiance.  But I decided what the heck, i'll give it a shot.

We were going to go to a church nearby but overslept lol...... yeah, get the party started right eh?  So we went to another church that seemed to fit, by their online message anyway.

So we ended up at a place here in town called Celebration Church.  I'm fairly certain just the name of it gave Craig hives, with his traditional upbringing.  I had brought him to a Pentacostal church in the past and he was put off by the lack of hymns and the upbeat atmosphere.

Was  he in for a surprise.  And even growing up in a fundamentalist environment, so was I.

We drive up to the church which is located on a hill on the edge of the city.  We are immediately amused with the Sheriff's deputies directing traffic on the road outside and the men in yellow directing parking.  Really?  Upon leaving the car we hear the upbeat music that is coming from speakers outside the buildng.

We go in and are immediately immersed in an atmosphere not unlike a busy shopping mall.  There's a coffee and sandwich shop, and a front desk that closely resembles the information desk of any hospital.  There are so many people milling around and loud rockish music filling the space.  I'm sure by now Craig was ready to bolt, as he can't even go into Hollister due to the abnoxious music.

We get to the service desk and an extremely friendly woman takes us to a computer where they input our children's names and print out name stickers to put on their shirts.  We are shown where each child goes and are instructed that we need our parent sticker, with matching ID number when we are ready to pick up our children.  They have numerous classes for the children based on age, so many that they are spilling out of the church into a series of portable building's annexed to the building itself.

We get our kids to their respective places and find a seat in the massive auditorium style space reserved for Sunday service.  I learn that this is the busiest of the 4 identical services which speak to a 6,000 plus  congregation held on Sundays and am surprised how fast the place fills up requiring ushers with blue tooth headsets to shuffle people around and fit them all in.  I notice quickly that we are slightly overdressed in our dress pants, as most are wearing jeans and t-shirts.

When the lights kicked on and the complete rock-type band began to play on stage and the media show started on 2 huge screens to the left and right of the stage I was certain Craig was going to have a stroke. I am fairly certain if he had been sitting on the end of the row he would have felt the sudden need to use the bathroom, for an extended period.  But he didn't.

The service began with what they call "worship".  Which could be mistaken for any concert you've been to (Ok, maybe not ANY).  The light show, the media show, the band, the people standing with hands in the air belting out the tunes as the lyrics are displayed on the screens.....

The singing concluded and a brief history of the 10 year history of the church played on the screens in an upbeat and modern format.

This was followed by offering, which for the first time I was relieved there was no pressure to give.  A: we are broke, and B: I would like to find out some more about the place before I go handing over my hard earned cash.  Usually you can feel all eyes on you as you pass the offering plate, but not here.. probably simply because with so many people it's impossible for them to focus on you.

This was followed by a very nice message from the pastor about "upgrading".  I enjoyed the sermon and it really made me think about my life, my history and my feelings regarding faith.

The kids absolutely loved it, which I was relieved about, with the exception of the 2 oldest.  Expected that.

We also attended a "connect" meeting yesterday evening for new people.  It was very informative and really spoke to me. I felt myself tearing up more than once actually, without reason.

I have no idea why the man upstairs brought me to this church, which is NOTHING I would have considered in the past.  I have no idea where I am being led or for what purpose.  But I know one thing, faith has gotten me this far, without it we would have never got on that plane, packed up that truck.  The whole weeks leading up to the move and the travel itself Craig and I constantly reminded each other to just have faith and follow.  Why should I stop now?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Baby it's cold outside!

I think I brought winter to Texas.  It's been in the low 30's for like 4 months.  Ok, by 4 months I mean a week......  My trusty Longhorns sweatshirt and my favorite blanket have become my best friends and the gas company is going to be thrilled at how much heating we are doing. 

I keep telling myself.  It's not Wisconsin and at least there's no snow.,. right?  RIGHT?!?!  

Otherwise I've been very busy with work.  We are now hiring Photographers left and right!  There have definitely been some glitches along the way but it is neat to think that our message, Alex's message, is traveling and that we are, with this photography business able to help people work, do our charity work, and meet some wonderful people in the process!

I am also in the throes of writing my book about my life with chronic depression/anxiety.  I thought  I had myself all figured out but as the chapters turn into another I realize so many more things about myself and how some of the things that didn't make sense in my life really do fit together to form this beautiful puzzle that is ME.  I am currently off medications and I think that is really helping the writing process, helping me to be honest with myself.  It is a struggle to be off meds, for sure though.  Especially when dealing with all the change in my life right now.  But I am determined to make it, and if I or my family ever feel that this is once again out of my control I will not hesitate to go back on the medication.  Having that back up plan is priceless and gives me strength to face the day!