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Monday, December 2, 2013


A few nights ago, while I was washing dishes and my boys were looking for some entertainment, I introduced them to the joys of percussion.
Armed with only 2 sets of chopsticks, a muffin tin turned upside-down, and a few cups, they performed concert after concert for each other in the stairwell while I kept busy in the kitchen.

It went like this: Zeke, seated on the bottom step w/his "instruments" a few steps above, would tap the chopsticks together and count off "a one, two, free, four", then bang, clang, and clink his way through one musical number then another. When he felt finished, he'd turn to Elijah (who had been seated in a little chair beside the stairs) and say "Now you cwap fo me Yai-jah!" At which time Elijah would clap politely and say a few kind words like "nice job Zeke" or "Woohoo". Zeke would then turn and wave, saying "fank you, fank you, fank you". And on and on it went. They took turns, switching places, alternatively clapping and cheering for each other.
45 minutes later, Elijah was tired of the routine but Ezekiel was not. So he employed Manny as his new audience member. And the pattern repeated again.

And that is how I kept the children out of my hair while I cleaned the kitchen. {I wish I had a photo, but my hands were soapy.}

The End.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Yesterday my sweet date and I headed out for an afternoon of concert-going with beautiful music played by the Philharmonic Orchestra and phenomenal acrobatics by Cirque de Symphony.

Now, Elijah and I have been to lots of Orchestra concerts, but this was by FAR the most amazing thing we've ever watched! We were on the edges of our seats, cheering, and gasping during each routine.

Seriously, seriously, great show! And beside the entertainment, he and I had a really special time together just talking about what was on his mind.

I love that he loves orchestra music. I love that he gets excited and bouncy in his seat with the big bass drum bangs. I love that he points to the different sections of musicians and tells me what instruments they are playing and why each one is his favorite. I love that he's amazed by the strings section and how quickly they play and perfectly synchronized they are. I love that the music moves him the way it moves me. He is a child after my own heart when it comes to these things.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mud In Your Eye

On a steamy-warm day in October I left my boys with my parents while I went on a photo shoot. (6-month-old twins... yikes!)

My Dad had closed the pool the weekend before and discovered a drainage pipe problem. So he and the boys set to work digging up the pipe. Consequently creating an awesome muddy play environment. Now my boys love a good project as much as the next kid. So they worked hard and played dirty. So dirty, in fact, that when I returned to pick them up THIS is what they looked like.

I think its a childhood rite of passage. Every kid has to be covered head-to-toe in mud at some point between the ages of 1 and 12. Maybe more than once. This was not Zeke's first time. And knowing him, it won't be his last.

It was all fun and dirty games until somebody got mud in his eye. After that there was much suffering on Zeke's part and apologizing on Elijah's part, because it turns out Elijah thought Zeke wouldn't mind if he smeared it on his face and into his ears. For the record, Elijah was wrong about that.
And then I stripped them naked on the porch and carried them by their armpits to the shower.
Good times.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cali folks

Manny's parents came to Indiana for a short visit (very short - only 6 days). We did as much fun stuff as we could in the time they were here. The boys loved having their California grandparents around. My sweet Zeke cried and cried and cried the saddest tears when they left for the airport. He was sobbing so hard I could barely understand him saying "I want to go to Ca-fornia wif Gammaw Goria". Poor, sweet little boy. It's hard for them to understand why we can't see them often like we do w/my parents.

We spent an entire day this time making tamales from scratch. We boiled the peppers for several hours, strained, blended, strained 3 more times, then blended again until it was smooth and perfect. Then cooked the beef, made the masa, steamed the husks, shredded the beef, then assembled them by hand, wrapped them in the husks and steamed them. I tried one and I'm just not a fan. But Manny was crazy about them. I think after a whole day's work we ended up with maybe 40 tamales. It's so much work for that! It was more about the experience of making them and for me it was good to learn.

Gloria, Manny, and I took the boys to the zoo one day. Elijah had been asking to ride the big duck paddleboat every time we've gone, so we all road the boats. Manny and Elijah went in the duck one and Gloria, Zeke, and I went in a regular one. They boys totally loved it!

Gloria and I took the boys over to the river park in Henderson one afternoon too. That's always fun to play in the fountains.

Of course, we swam at Mom's a few times, and ate every Mexican dish we could think of. Enchilada's one night, flautas another, then tamales, then burritos. Plus we went to Los Bravos. We also took Gloria to Gerst Haus for a little of my own heritage - German food.

Another evening we had a family shindig at my parent's house and I made everyone cooperate for family photos. They didn't want to! The guys all grumbled, but too bad! It's not often that I get pictures of all of us together! Especially since we only get to see his family once a year! So, then said cheese in the hot hot hot humidity until they thought their faces would melt. :)

Manuel wasn't able to get out and about this time. He has a sore on his foot that won't heal. The diabetes makes for poor circulation, plus his feet hurt a lot. So he just stayed home and we girls ran around town w/the kids. And that's about it. A short and sweet visit. We hope to go out to California some day. But who knows. It's so expensive for all of us to fly, plus the time off work w/no paid vacation. We'll see. Maybe in 2015. :(

The End. Until next time.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Best Day in the History of Elijah's Life {according to him}

A few nights ago, when it was almost bed time, we called a family meeting in Zeke's room. Because I knew as soon as we told the boys that the long-awaited trip to Holiday World was happening THIS FRIDAY, there would be a stream of questions such as "how many hours until we go?", "how long will it take to get there?", "may I bring Little Duck?", "which rides are we going on first?", etc.  So we waited until nearly the last minute in order to avoid the torture for ourselves and them. It was just enough time for their anticipation to grow, but not too much to drive us all bananas.

So this was it. The day we've been talking about for the past 6 months. I don't think Elijah slept last night. Bless his little 5-year-old heart, I know how that excitement feels and he handled it very well. Naturally this was all we've talked about since the big announcement. We got on the Holiday World website and looked at all the rides to determine which ones he would be tall enough to ride.  We had a plan and were ready to go!
But first, I had agreed to do a photoshoot at 8:30 this morning, so I did that before we could leave. It all worked out fine because we still made it to the park around 10:30. We hit the dry rides first and they opted just to ride the Doggone Trail, the Salmon Run, and the canoes before heading to the water park. It was hot already. By the time we got suited up and greased up it was noon. First we all went on the lazy river together, but it wasn't enough action for the boys. So we played for an hour or so at the Kimba Bay area, which they LOVED. Zeke did the slides like a madman, just as we predicted. No fear.

Next Elijah and I rode a water coaster, which turns out was a huge mistake. Not only was the wait nearly 2 hours, but he didn't even really enjoy it. It was too fast and too jerky. I regret that we waisted so much precious time out of our day to go on that stinking thing. We won't be doing that again. While we were doing that, Manny and Zeke played in the wave pool, then Kimba Bay, then went back into the dry park to ride the train, salmon run, and boats several more times. Once Elijah and I got back to our meeting place, it took us another hour to locate the 2 of them because Manny hadn't taken his phone w/him. (dang it!) So, by the time we were all together again we were ready to eat. We grabbed some pizza, bread sticks, fries, chicken, and onion rings at the concession stand (super healthy, right?).

After lunch we played in the part w/all the really wide kiddie slides. The boys had a blast in that place because the pool was only waist deep and the slides were just right for them. I admit, I had fun on the slides w/them too! Then we did the wave pool, and while Elijah and I rode the really tall racer slide (he had a love-hate relationship with it), Manny and Zeke played in the toddler area some more. Then Monsoon Lagoon, then the other wave pool, then we were ready to dry off and do some more dry rides, which included the raging rapids, kiddie train, and kiddie roller-coaster (which neither of the boys enjoyed it.)In fact, Elijah got off it half-way thru the ride. They rode several more dry rides on our seemingly endless walk back to the park exit. My knees hurs soooo bad by the end of the day, the boys were both completely exausted, and we were all starving (thank goodness I packed peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches in the cooler for the drive home). But you know what? It was an awesome day! We had so much fun as a family - I think even Manny (who hates pools AND hates the outdoors) enjoyed it. Elijah and I are already making plans about when we get to go next year!

Of the water park, Monsoon Lagoon was my favorite part. It's a little more for older kids (deeper water, taller and faster slides), ropes and nets to climb in stead of steps, but it was Zeke's favorite too. He zipped down the big-kid slides with no hesitation whatsoever. Elijah, on the other hand, was more interested in playing with the water sprayers and sprinklers. Zeke and I did slides for a loooong time. And when I say "Zeke and I", I mean, Zeke ran ahead of me and I chased after him, trying to ride slides with him. But as it happened, he really did them mostly himself. He probably giggled more during that hour than he has collectively the rest of his entire life.

By the time we rolled into our driveway at home the boys were nodding into dreamland. Dreaming, I'm sure, about the wonderful day we all had. What a super-fun day. What a blessed mommy I am to have these boys to enjoy it with. I am happy. Deep down, really happy.

The End.

Friday, June 28, 2013

by Kindle-light at night

As we're nearing his third birthday, I'm becoming more and more nostalgic where this little boy is concerned. My Zeke. My baby. What a pleasant, kind-hearted, generous, funny, smart, and strong guy he's turning out to be.  Not to mention that I think he's just plain gorgeous. I mean, look at those beautiful sparkling eyes, those lips, and lashes, and deep dimples. Be still my heart. I love him to the moon and back.  What a wonderful blessing it is to be his Mommy and get to enjoy him every day.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


There are still surprises to Motherhood. 
Like when early this morning I emerged from my room and found these two reading together in the sunlight of Ezekiel's window. I was taken off guard because I heard no arguing or declaring of phrases such as, "Mine!" or "I had that first!".  No, just two brothers peacefully spending time together while their Mommy was taking a shower. The older one was even reading to the younger one without being asked. Ah, there is hope after all.  I think they really might like each other.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Elijah's lost teeth!

Big things have been happening for this little guy! {He's not so little any more, is he?}
This week has been full of milestones and important things.
First, we had Vacation Bible School at church {The Kingdom Chronicles} - which was fun and exhausting!  Then, Friday while I was at work, he lost his first tooth! I'm so thankful it happened on his Daddy's watch because if there is anything that makes me squeamish, it's TEETH. Ick!

And later Elijah and Manny went on the Father-Son campout at church. (no girls allowed!) While they were having dinner he lost his second tooth! I took pictures Friday afternoon before the campout, so these were when he was only missing one tooth. He looks so cute - like such a big boy with that gap in the front. I can't believe he's already crossed this milestone of childhood. My baby is growing up too fast. :(

Also this week he got to drive my mom's John Deer lawnmower all by himself for the first time (the blade was off, of course). He was very confident and knew exactly how to handle it. I wish I could have been there to see him, but I was at work. So no pictures of that. Maybe next time.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

VBS 2013

This week was insane - fun, busy, exhausting. VBS. Each night we made our way to church from 5:30 - 8:30 pm, and while the kiddos enjoy activities, Bible stories, crafts, games, snacks, and songs, I was preparing snacks in the kitchen and taking photos in between groups. We had 99 kids on the first night. And I think close to that number the rest of the nights.
It really was a lot of fun. Of course the kids loved it.
Zeke only went one night because he's too little to stay up that late and experience tells me he can't handle being in the classroom that long.
When I asked Elijah what his favorite part was he said, "the games... and story... oh! and snacks... and singing - I loved that too... and making crafts. yeah, that's all my favorite part!" So, all of it. ha!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blooms & Stuff

As often as I can, I like to sneak out by myself and take pictures of pretty things just for fun. Here are some recent captures. All this rain has been good for something. Our flowers are lovely this time of year.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Wedding Photography | Wes + Briana

So here's the story of how I shot my second ever wedding last weekend.

But first... A little about the couple. Wes and Briana are two of the sweetest people I've ever met. They are giddy in love which makes them super fun to be around, but also fun to photograph. There is no substitute for true emotions when working with a couple! They are kind, and happy, easy-going, adventurous, and romantic (oh, so romantic!), and there is a genuine Christ-centeredness about them that just rubs off on those around them.  When photographing their engagement last Summer I was immediately impressed to see the way Wes has such a gentleness about him with Bri. I adore the way they look at each other with such tenderness. Ah, young love!  So, I was really really excited to photograph their wedding day. I knew going into it, that we'd have a great time working together. And although the day wasn't without a few hang-ups (more on that in a second), overall it was a great day!  The ceremony was so touching (I cried. twice.) and God-honoring, and the reception was celebratory and fun.

Wedding photography is not for the feint-hearted, my friends. You have to be organized, comfortable bossing people around, know how to delegate, think on your feet, and literally stand on your feet for 10 or more hours. It's kind of my favorite! Like an all-day adrenaline rush. :) And since nothing can be perfect, if I didn't mention the minor set-backs I'd be remiss.

So the morning of the wedding I got a text from the Bride - it seems the night before, one of her teeth had been knocked out! You read that correctly, a tooth KNOCKED OUT. The night before her wedding. I would have died! It's literally my worst nightmare! I can hardly think of anything more horrible which doesn't involve death.  Thankfully, she was able to have it fixed at an emergency dentist appointment on Saturday morning.

Then, as they were getting ready, the bridesmaids were using a steamer on their dresses. Somehow the heat from the steamer set off the central alarm system of the church. We're not talking smoke detector here. We're talking a blood-curdling screech that makes you want to cry and flashing lights all over the building. And nobody knew how to turn it off. Again, thankfully, I knew who to call (my Dad) to get instructions on how to open the alarm panel and disarm it.  But not before I got knocked over by one of the groomsmen and nearly had a toe broken by someone else. Fact: people act stupid when alarms are sounding. :)

Then the Bride arrived at the church an hour late because her hair took longer than planned, which of course delayed things. We were scheduled to start shooting at noon. We actually started Bridal portraits at 1:45. No bueno.  But we managed to get the men ready sooner and do some of their photos first so at least we got most of the planned shots.

However, we thought all was not lost because Wes and Bri planned to do the majority of their photos and the wedding party photos at the reception venue outdoors. So we presumed we'd get the rest of the shots then. Oh... but no. We drove to the reception with sunny blue skies. Then strangely, out of the clear blue (literally) a thunderstorm randomly popped up directly over the venue. As I got out of my car, it started pouring. And it didn't stop raining for 20 minutes. Incidentally, those were the only 20 minutes we had to do outside photos.  So when it finally slowed to a drizzle we rushed to grab 1 pose of the wedding party (we were already super late to the reception), and then I gave myself 10 minutes to work with the Bride & Groom alone. Talk about stressful!  That was worst part, in my opinion, having so many ideas and have NO time to work. I'm happy to say we did capture a few really beautiful photos despite it all.

It's funny, to hear all the things that went wrong you'd think I'm crazy to chose to do wedding photography at all. Too much stress, too many bad things can happen. But that's just it. It's exciting and beautiful! There are also so many things that went right. And so many reasons that I love it. And I think I'm just crazy enough to want to do it again and again.

Congratulations to the newlyweds, on your marriage, and a beautiful wedding day! Thank you for trusting me capture your special moments!

Follow this link to see more of Wes & Briana's Wedding Album on Facebook.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sometimes in the Spring

It has been so discouragingly cold this Spring. We've been desperate for a good warm day to play outside. But FINALLY, this past week we've reached the high 60's and low 70's. We are sooo thankful! Plus, I've been itching to get outside and take some Springtime pictures of my boys. So this morning we were able enjoy some time outdoors, picking "andy-ions" and digging in the rocks.

Ms. Katrina came today too for Zeke's speech therapy. We all really appreciate her so much. I cannot believe the progress my little Zeke has made with her help. It's amazing that just 9 months ago he was only using 4 "real" words and now he jabbers constantly. He still has lots of work to do, but I can understand him now and he's able to communicate his needs. He's doing wonderfully and I am so proud. I'm kind of dreading the time when he no longer gets to have a weekly playdate with Ms."Trina". He loves her so much.

Monday, April 1, 2013

He is risen, just as He said!

The kids had 3 egg hunts in 2 days. They were given, and consumed waaaay more candy that should be humanly possible. We managed to take a few family pictures. But I'm laughing so hard at the shots that ended up being the "best" from the batches. We did most of the usual Easter stuff... lunch and egg hunt with the cousins at GG & P-pa's house after church, then evening egg hunt and dinner at my parents' house with my other grandparents. It was a beautiful afternoon - finally a warmish day.
This is so funny to me because of Elijah's face. What is that??

I have lots of thoughts for this Easter post and I'm having a hard time collecting them all into sentences.
It has been a busy, fun weekend. And I have an overwhelmed feeling of gratitude for all the spiritual blessings in my life. This has been a season of growth for me (and my husband too) and of a greater awareness of God's working among us.  Sometime soon I hope to be able to articulate it. But as for today, it seems the perfect time to mention briefly that the theme of New Life in Christ is so fresh and sweet to me. God is good. He has shown me the most amazing kindness. And I am swimming in an ocean of His lavish grace. Amen? Hallelujah! What a Savior.

We ended Easter Sunday by watching the last of The Bible series on History Channel. Perfect way to cap it off, I think. With a reminder of the Savior's love and His holy sacrifice for us, which fully satisfied the wrath of God toward sinners; conquering death, and hell, and sin.  Happy Resurrection Day. He is risen, just as He said!