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Monday, August 31, 2015

A Visit With Baby B (and his mama)

Way back in July, Baby B came to visit---along with his mama, Jana, of course.  I hate living so far away from them, but am so grateful for technology such as cameras, computers, phones and Facetime, that all make the world a little bit smaller.  This time together, both Baby D and Baby B were much more aware of each other, and Baby D liked him just fine. . . . .
as long as he wasn't touching him.
While they were visiting Shreveport, Baby D celebrated his first birthday! (how is that even possible????)  
Callie and Jordan had a nice, family birthday party for him, with dinner, presents and birthday cake.  I made special outfits for the boys, but it was hard to get them to sit still long enough for a picture.

There was a loose "Hungry Caterpillar" theme, but it became a little more solid when he received 4 different kinds of caterpillar toys as gifts!  Each different and each very cute!
Baby D was not at all sure what to do with his own personal birthday cake (the head of a home made caterpillar cake), so at first, he just played with it, picking it up, feeling it, etc.
Once mama encouraged him to take a taste, he discovered quite a treat!
With Jordan's side of the family there, there were four generations of boys in the room.  How lucky they are to still be able to spend time with his grandfather!
Baby B is such a happy baby, with a giggle always close at hand.  And when he giggles, everyone arounds him is soon giggling as well.   Soooo sweet!!
He was much more fond of the birthday hat than his cousin was!
We also enjoyed a visit with the Jamar side of the family, who came in to meet Baby B.
One of their cousins, Meredith, was even able to come with her two sweet little ones.
The girls, their boys and I drove down to Cheneyville one morning to surprise Dan with a visit.  He was thrilled to see them!!!  It was a quick visit, but we were able to enjoy lunch together and let him get some hugs from everyone.
One morning, we had an impromptu photo session in the backyard.
That smiley boy loved is sitting alone . . . . most of the time.
He enjoyed being outdoors and watching the dogs, and hammed it up for the camera, too.
Over the weekend, we squeezed in a trip to the lake---so that Callie and Ron could practice for their upcoming triathlon, we could play in the water, and I could snap a few pictures.  Okay, a lot of pictures!  I haven't had time to edit them, so these are SOOC.
It was so nice that Mr. and Mrs. Willis were able to meet up with us on Sunday morning.  As you can tell, baby B was very excited by it, as well.
We had such a good time while they were here and their visit was over WAY too soon.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

September Instagram 2015

Okay friends.  You know I love a good Instagram challenge, especially since it helps me remember to take a photo-a-day.  For September, I'm using a bit of alliteration and hope you'll have fun with it, too.   This time, instead of assigning a day to each prompt, I decided to just list the prompts and we can each check them off our list in whichever order you like.  (ex:  If I see the perfect sunset on September 7, I will go ahead and post that photo and check it off my list)   How about you?  Want to join in on the fun?   This time, let's use the hashtag #MTSeptemberChecklist2015.

Click on the image below to save it to your phone's camera roll, or print it off so that you can check off each picture with a pencil.
P. S.  Did you know that the latest update for Instagram allows you to choose whether or not you want to crop the photo into a square or keep the original size!?!??!   Here's how it works:
See that little set of arrows in the lower left-hand corner??
If you click on it, it take the photo back to its original cropping, in this case vertical.
This is a great option in cases like this, where square cropping would cut off the bottom of the ladies' legs.   Give it a try!

32/52 Green

My computer was in the shop for a little while, so I didn't get this one posted to the M4H Project 52 site, but I still took the photo.  

32/52 - Green

This is the "green trail" out at the Wildlife Refuge.  It is marked with a small green diamond and eventually runs into other trails that take you all the way around the lake.  I love all the different shades of green created by the variety of foliage and the sun and shadows.  (near the trailhead, you can see some of the benches we made and donated after our wedding)

33/52 People

33/52 - People 

Baby D loves books. Especially the pages that have people on them (or puppies).  ;-)
"Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in His sight."

34/52 Intense

Long time, no see.   Here I am, in full catch-up mode now.  But here is a photo I took last night.

34/52 Intense - I talked Ron into going with me last night so that I could practice my night photography. As you know, I'm a beginning photographer and I wanted to figure out how to capture the full moon, so we headed out to the National Wildlife Refuge near our home where there are fewer lights. The mosquitos were eating us up as I adjusted settings and attempted to get things in focus. As Ron went to get the truck to pick me up, I looked back towards the visitor's center and noticed the moon slowly rising over the trees and behind the flag. Our flags are at half-mast right now. Another law enforcement officer lost his life this week in a senseless shooting that has left us all shaken. That makes three in the last three weeks for our state. The photo is not technically great--I still have a lot to learn--but the moment was INTENSE.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It's Here! For the Love. . .

It's here!!!  Jen Hatmaker's new book was officially released today and I couldn't be more excited.   Several months ago, I had the privilege of being chosen to serve on her "Launch Team", so I received an advance copy of the book.  I love books, and actually enjoy reading, but quite often don't make the time to sit still long enough.   The books I choose must be VERY engaging to keep me interested, because I now seem to have so many things vying for my attention (plus a bit of ADD, I'm sure).

For The Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards is one of those books!  It is a series of essays on a variety of topics that relate to women today.  In her casual, witty style, Jen makes you feel like you are sitting down and chatting with your best friend.   She is funny and entertaining and there are several instances that I quite literally laughed aloud or nodded my head in agreement.   Through her writing, however, Jen is able to speak into your heart, reminding you of what is important and true.
Here's a recent video clip of Jen.

It is a wonderful time to be a woman in America.  We have opportunities afforded us that our grandmothers never would have believed possible.  With those opportunities come responsibilities, however, whether real or imagined.   There is increasing pressure to keep up with the Joneses (whomever they are), to produce Pinterest-worthy lunches and parties for our children and mates and to be the Wonder Women of our families and churches.    It is so easy to get caught up in the lies that we are "not enough", that we need to dress a certain way, behave a certain way or even own particular brands.   Yet, instead of banding together to support one another through the challenges of dating, marriages, children and just life itself, we become judgmental towards ourselves and others.

Life is hard.  If we spend our days focusing on our failures rather than our successes, on rejoicing in the failures of others rather than being happy for their successes, what have we really accomplished?
This book challenges the notion that we need to be all things to all people.  As Jen states in the book, “We measure our performance against an invented standard and come up wanting, and it’s destroying our joy.” God extends GRACE to all of us, so why is it so hard for us to accept it and then extend it to others as well?   I don't know about you, but I NEEDED to hear that message, and then to be reminded of it from time to time as well.
I hope that you'll get a copy of the book and read it for yourself.  Jen is going to be leading an online book study of For The Love through beginning September 19.   This fall, I am hoping to gather a few friends again to do our own version of the book study---it's always more fun to do something like this together and hear the opinions of others.    If you are interested in the online book study, you can click here to read more about it and even see a video of Jen talking about the book.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

30/52 Vision

M4H Project 52 - Vision

30/52 - Vision - She had a VISION. Callie dreamed of one day completing a triathlon. Sunday morning, despite a fall early in the race that resulted in some nasty road rash, she did it!   Quite by coincidence, she ended up getting to run the 5K portion with her former youth director (and my sweet friend), Jeanie.   They gave each other the motivation to run strong and crossed the finish line together!!  I can't wait to post more pictures from this race. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Little Bit of Scrapping

There has been so much going on in the past few weeks, that I'm going to back up a little and catch up.  ****For some reason, my photos have not been posting, so I'm trying yet again****

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled down to south Louisiana for a scrapbook retreat.  I came down a day early so that I'd have time to visit with Valine a bit.  When I arrived in Baton Rouge, she met me in town and after lunch, we headed to the LSU Rural Life Museum for a walk through the Windrush Gardens.
It was a hot afternoon, but we enjoyed wandering through the gardens, visiting and taking in the flowers, statues, and historic buildings.

The next morning, we drove to Rayne for the Treasured Memories annual scrapbook retreat.  I'd never been to Rayne and our scrapping buddies were not able to come this time (we missed you Vanessa, Pam and Catha!!), so it was a completely new experience for both of us.
I haven't done much scrapbooking lately, but had brought a couple of projects to work on.  The first one was a Summer Mini-book.  Prior to coming, I'd cut out page dividers for both of us and found a couple of fun little albums on sale at Michael's for us to use.
We divided our summer activities into categories and assembled the book with a divider for each one.
We both had a few photos ready to go into the album, but will fill in the rest as the summer continues.
My album is already so full, I may have to switch to a different album, but am hoping I can keep it simple.  I just need to add some journaling here and there to tell the stories.
There was a pirate theme to the weekend, so one of the fun things that they did was to have a treasure hunt.  Rayne's official mascot is a frog.  I don't really know why, but they have frog statues all over the city.  Our treasure hunt took us throughout the city, looking for specific frogs that had been marked on a treasure map.
Using photos of the frogs, we then made a 2-page layout that could be entered into a contest.
I spent WAY too much time thinking about the layout, but it was fun.   As the scrappers filed through the classroom, viewing and voting for the layouts, we noticed that people were talking about ours a lot, which we assumed was a good thing.   Once we got to spot where our layout was laying, we saw why:  the "Y" had fallen off of our layout, so that it read "AHO" rather than "Ahoy".    We had a nice giggle over that, but in the end, we ended up winning 4th place.  That meant a $40 certificate to the on-site scrapbook store, so that was a welcome treat.
There is not much better than spending a weekend with your BFF.  And to get to combine some crafting with it?   Perfect!

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